Beauty and the Beasts is being exhibited at the Manchester Museum to showcase an extensive range of insects. It has been put on to change people’s perceptions of insects by showing how important they are to our ecosystem and how beautiful they can be.
The exhibition is aimed at all ages and with it being in this location, open to the public, it makes it easy to access. It is particularly popular with both photography and art students. This is because of the way in which it is displayed; students are able to get up close to the insects.
The exhibition is curated in a way that enables you to walk around from section to section with glass display cases and educational information on the walls. I particularly liked how some of the butterflies were displayed through a glass window so you can view both sides of the wings. This really exaggerates the beauty of those insects.
The exhibition also includes how insects inspire art, the design of toys, armour and even used in the design of emerging technologies. As a visitor who has a phobia of bugs, I was surprisingly inspired by the colours and symmetrical patterns of the insects. Being able to see these up-close was especially useful. It is very educational and has changed the way I perceive tiny insects.
The main elements that I believe make the exhibition exciting were the images of scanning electron micrographs, displayed on the wall, which shows some tiny insects, magnified 100,000 times their true size.
The microscope that visitors can use and independently look through as well as the cleverly designed QR codes around the exhibition which visitors can scan using their smartphone and be redirected to the online blog where they will find more information about that particular display unit. I think the QR codes and the microscope are brilliant ideas and are a great addition to the exhibition as it makes it fun and interactive.
However, the exhibition could be improved if it weren’t so hidden away. I think that it could be possible for visitors to miss out on the Beauty and the Beasts; falling in love with insects exhibition as the location of it is on the top floor in the back corner. A suggestion could be for the museum to use fun and creative signs or arrows in and around the museum to promote the exhibition and guide people to it.
I found the exhibition well presented, educational and fun. I would recommend this to anybody who appreciates nature or art. I would also recommend this to families and groups who plan on visiting the Manchester Museum as there is a range of fun-filled activities taking place. I think school groups will benefit from the exhibition the most due to having the addition of a guided tour from one of the museum specialists which, in my opinion, really adds to the overall experience.
In response to my visit, I designed and created a review board to visually express my viewpoint on the exhibition. I focused it around my appreciation of nature and the beauty of insects by including artwork that is inspired by the butterflies, bees and honeycomb from the displays. The colours used on my board represent the natural colours from the insects on display in the exhibition.