Saturday, February 18, 2006

Stuffed Animals

This afternoon, I went with my wife and daughter to Edinburgh's Royal Museum. There were, I thought, three attractions to keep my daughter interested (she is not far off 4-years-old) - tropical fish swimming in a pool, butterflies under glass cabinets, and stuffed animals of every imaginable variety.

Well, she liked the fish. She liked the butterflies for about 30 seconds. But she hated the stuffed animals. She couldn't get away from them quick enough and announced that she wanted to go to the café and have something to eat.

This led me to wonder what the point of stuffed animals might be. They look creepy, frozen forever in one pose of perpetual semi-naturalness. They don't do anything. At least, what they do is to remind me of what they once were. And all this in a city that boasts the best zoo in Scotland, where people can see real animals doing real things.

I'm now asking myself why I thought my daughter would want to see stuffed animals. For some reason it's the kind of thing that 3-year-olds are supposed to like. But perhaps we do children a disservice by assuming that such an activity could interest them.


Harry said...

I used to like stuffed animals. It was probably when I was starting to take an interest in natural history, though, which was pretty young but presumably a few years older than your daughter is now.

They've lost their reason for existing as public displays now that we have natural history documentaries on TV, and because the collections are generally about 100 years old, they tend to be faded and battered-looking, but they must have been very exciting for those little Victorian kids when they were new.

Rob Mackenzie said...

You know, I hadn't thought of them as being so old, but they probably are, which would explain that look of having seen better days, as you say.
I'm sure there's a poem in all of this too, although it's not quite forming itself in my mind at the moment.

apprentice said...

My nieces had the same reaction, along the lines of "why is the Lion King playing statues?"

As a child I loved the blue whale skeleton there, the size of it was awe inspiring, but back then thven snooker was in black and white.
I think previous poster was right, it's the global village thing.
I met a 4 year old on holiday, he'd already been to Oz twice.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Hi apprentice
Yes, stuffed animals, snooker in black and white -it all belongs together, doesn't it?