Explore the Colour & Vision exhibition at the Natural History Museum


If you have a fascination for natural history and museums the best place to visit in London is the Natural History Museum in Kensington. It is home to some of the finest specimens and creatively delineates the evolution of mankind and nature over millions of years. It is also out of the most visited museums in the world with millions flocking to explore the place every year.

A visit to London would be incomplete without a visit to the Natural History Museum. It is less than 2.5 miles from the Park Grand Hotel in Lancaster Gate London. The museum always hosts a variety of interesting exhibitions and displays apart from its exhaustive collection of exhibits, which makes it a great place to visit with the family.

Natural History Museum

So if you are staying at any of the budget accommodation in London do not miss an opportunity to drop in at the Natural History Museum, especially when its avant-garde Colour & vision exhibition is on display from 15 July – 06 November, 2016. You will be spellbound to discover an explosion of colour and its wonderful role in nature. It is one of the latest in a series of immersive shows to be hosted at the museum. It takes visitors on an unbelievable trip through 565 years of optical history, while providing an informative and thrilling insight into the development of vision and colour. If offers a never before seen view of nature and stimulates visitors to examine their own relationship with our environment. One of the highlights at the event is being in an empty room with white light that is filtered through coloured glass panes, which creates an indescribably beautiful spectrum of colour in the area. It is a surreal experience that makes you think and meditate about colour its combinations and significance, before you get to move on to enjoy the rest of the exhibition.

This one of a kind installation is the creation of light artist Liz West, and it replicates the same characteristics that light does when passed through a prism. It creates VIBGYOR where the light is split into 7 distinctive colours all around you. It derived its inspiration from the museum’s massive collection of distinctly colourful animals, insects and birds and has been named Spectral vision. Initially it does take a few moments to adjust your vision when stepping in from the gloom outside, after which you are hit by a veritable explosion of colour.

Its beginnings

The process of creating the exhibition took 18 months in the making. a journey that began when Fiona was handed a short brief setting out the exhibition’s aims and ideas. Exhibition developer Fiona Cole-Hamilton worked in collaboration with the event’s lead scientists Dr. Suzanne Williams and Dr Greg Edgecombe to weave the storyline and select 350 specimens which were to form part of the show. Nissen Richards Studio provided their expertise in designing the space’s 2D and 3D images. It began with the research of primary colours and creating a themed exhibition storyline which was fine tuned by the scientists who offered their professional skills in choosing specimens and developing the narrative. It also involved which portions were to be kept aside to introduce specimens and which were to be made immersive. It took exhaustive work and time to design and develop the key components. It involved seeking the assistance and knowledge from a variety of sources from various departments of the museum. Extra efforts were taken to make the 3D sections very sophisticated and great fun to experience.

A visual feast

Hosting an exhibition about vision poses its own unique challenges about the way we humans perceive out sense of observation. There has been generous use of dichroic glass in the event which intensifies the colours to be found all around. It changes hues while moving around and it creates a strong colour using various layers of very thin metal. As a consequence light bounces and reflects numerous times. It uses the same principal that is to be found in the glittering wings of coloured butterflies. There are scores of visually scintillating experiences at the exhibition, which include colourful fossils, Gouldian finches, butterflies and eyeballs to name just a few. The sheer riot of colour to be found all around and in the exhibits gives us a bird’s eye view at the amazing diversity and beauty of natural life on earth. The combining of structural colour and pigments help to create an eclectic display of iridescence and stunning colours same as that is to be found in the natural world. It is this use of colour that that is shaping different areas of the modern world including fashion, optics, technology and design etc. The research carried out here is of major significance in modern everyday life.

Be a part of the conversation

Before you leave the event you are invited to watch a short movie on OLED 4K TV screens given by the sponsors LG Electronics. It features views and thoughts of scientists, collaborators and other key figures that helped to make this exhibition possible. The introduction is by a colour blind artist Neil Harbisson, who despite his lack of sense of colour makes up for it by having an antenna implanted, which helps him to hear instead of seeing colour. Every colour is assigned a different tone, which he listens to and the result is a symphony of colours for him. A visit to the exhibition is bound to leave you with a deep sense of awe and respect for colour & vision as never before and its immense impact on our daily lives!