Super Science Saturday – 27th November

People & Planet

Come along to the museum for this fun family Science Fair, Saturday 27th November, 12-4pm.

Meet scientists and community organisations to learn more about current environmental research and projects.

Find out what scientists get up to and how they research the effects of our lifestyle choices on the planet and the things that live on it. Learn more about community larders and environmental projects that are working on creating a healthier planet. You can even try eating insects and decide if you think that’s the way forward to keep our planet healthy.

No need to book – just come along.

Find out more on our website.

How to get to the museum.

Insects up close

On the first floor of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, at one end of the insect gallery, by the café, is an interactive screen. This displays one of my favourite parts of the insect gallery. The wonderful world of Microsculpture. This was originally an exhibition in the museum, Microsculpture: The Insect Photography of Levon Biss, which was open in 2016. You can still see the remarkable images from the exhibition on the screen in the gallery.

Interactive Microsculpture screen in the insect gallery

Microsculpture shows insect specimens from the Museum’s collection from a new angle. Photographer Levon Biss took a series of beautifully-lit, high magnification pictures showing striking high-resolution detail. Seeing the insects so close up lets you see colours and patterns that are difficult to see with the naked eye, particularly with very small insects. Seeing this detail makes me realise how beautiful they truly are. What do you think?

Tricolored Jewel Beetle (Belionota sumptuosa), collected by Alfred Russel Wallace in Seram Island, Indonesia. Length: 25 mm Image: Levon Bliss

Here is a video showing how the Microsculpture exhibition came about:

You can even enjoy the pictures from your home on the Microsculpture website.

Which is your favourite? Let us know by emailing us at hopelearning@oum.ox.ac.uk or using the Contact Us form.

Bees, Riddles and a Talking Dung Beetle

We had a very busy half term week here at the museum. You could say it was buzzing!  It was great to meet so many young people interested in entomology and all things invertebrate! If you weren’t able to join us, here is a taste of what we had on offer.

Insects: Beastie or Bestie?

Our new family Science Show:  Insects: Beastie or Bestie? played to a packed house on Tuesday 26th October.  Staff from the museum showed off their acting skills as they took on the roles of a large, chatty dung beetle and an insect-phobic visitor to the museum.

Helped by members of the audience, the unlikely pair looked at the wonderful, and vitally important, role of insects in our world. From their position as pollinators, to their function in food chains; from the waste they recycle, to the many hours of joy and entertainment they bring as the heroes and villains of so many films, TV shows and books, all bases were covered! The audience went away with a greater understanding of why insects are vital to our existence and what we can all do to help safeguard their future.

Bees and Riddles

As well as enjoying the show, the Crunchy on the Outside team were also in the museum with some challenging insect activities for our young entomologist friends to try. 

In our To Bee or Not to Bee activity, we had 10 beautiful specimens for people to view: 5 bees, 4 flies and 1 moth, but could our visitors tell which was which?  Some clues in the entomology gallery helped identify these tricky mimics.

Have a look at these two specimens.  Which one is a bee?  What type of insect is the other one? 

Let us know what you think using CONTACT US or leave a comment below.

We also had a super tricky quiz with answers to be found in our entomology gallery.  This included some really challenging insect riddles (courtesy of Susie!).  Here is one of the riddles.  Which insect do you think this might be? 

For buzzing insects in your garden, consider what to grow.

Lavender and foxglove seeds are the ones to sow.

When looking for a home, and deciding what is best

This solitary bee makes an old snail shell its nest.

Lavender. Image credit: Thowra uk CC BY 2.0; Snail Shell. Image credit: Aesop CC BY-SA 2.0

Send your answers to us using CONTACT US or leave a comment below.

We will be hosting more Crunchy on the Outside events in the future.  Remember to check back regularly to be the first to find out about them. 

FREE Insect fun at the Museum this half term

Don’t forget to join us at the Museum this half term for some fabulous, free insect fun. We have a Science Show for you on Tuesday 26th October, and drop in activities on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October. Read on to find out more!

Insects: Bestie or Beastie? A Family Science Show

Join us for our brand new, interactive family Science Show on Tuesday 26th October at 2pm or 3.30pm. Find out what happens when an insect-phobic visitor to the museum meets a giant talking dung beetle!  It promises to be a lot of fun!   Tickets to the show are completely FREE but you do need to book.

Book tickets for Tuesday 26th October, 2pm

Book tickets for Tuesday 26th October, 3.30pm

Take the Crunchy on the Outside Challenge!

On Tuesday 26th October, 1-4pm, Susie and Kate will be in the Museum main court with some fiendish insect challenges for you. Drop by and see if you can solve the puzzles with your insect intellect (no booking needed)!

Flower Power Drop-in Activities

Drop in on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October, 1pm – 4pm, for an afternoon of insect crafts, plus getting up close and personal with some fabulous insect specimens.  No need to book; just drop-in! 

Susie and Kate look forward to seeing you there!

FREE Insect fun at the Museum this half term

Join us at the Museum this half term for some fabulous, free insect fun. We have a Science Show for you on Tuesday 26th October, and drop in activities on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October. Read on to find out more!

Insects: Bestie or Beastie? A Family Science Show

Join us for our brand new, interactive family Science Show on Tuesday 26th October at 2pm or 3.30pm. Find out what happens when an insect-phobic visitor to the museum meets a giant talking dung beetle!  It promises to be a lot of fun!   Tickets to the show are completely FREE but you do need to book.

Book tickets for Tuesday 26th October, 2pm

Book tickets for Tuesday 26th October, 3.30pm

Flower Power Drop-in Activities

Drop in on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October, 1pm – 4pm, for some insect fun in the museum main court with an afternoon of insect crafts, plus getting up close and personal with some fabulous insect specimens.  No need to book; just drop-in! 

Susie and I look forward to seeing you there!

Insects: bestie or beastie?

What happens when a visitor to the museum, with a certain dislike of insects, meets an accommodating, and rather chatty, giant talking dung beetle?

Find out in the new, interactive family show at the museum , that is all about insects.

Stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) ©OUMNH


The unlikely pair take a journey, looking at the wonderful, and vitally important, role of insects in our world. From their position as pollinators, to their function in food chains; from the waste they recycle, to the many hours of joy and entertainment they bring as the heroes, and villains, of so many films, TV shows and books.


Come and see the show to find out how and why they are at risk, and what we can all do to help.

Insect Industry © Chris Jarvis


There will be two showings of “Insects: Beasties or Besties?” on Tuesday 26th October at 2pm and 3:30pm. Although the show is free of charge booking is essential. Tickets will be available to book soon. Keep an eye out for them on our What’s on page.