Busking. A blog from Paul Botterill

3rd December 2015

My name is Paul and I am a host here at The National Marine Aquarium; that means most of my day is filled with informal learning (talking to the public). One of my favourite ways to engage our visitors is Busking. Now, don’t worry, I don’t stand in the corridors singing, for us Busking means taking an artefact or game out to the public to explore with them. This is really useful as it means our visitors can see and feel real artefacts from our collection and don’t have to imagine it. It also means we get to play some great games with the public to make learning a little more interesting.

  • What do a whale’s teeth look like?
  • What does a turtle’s shell feel like?
  • How many rows of teeth do sharks have?

These are all questions which are much easier to answer if you’re holding a real set of teeth or a shell! It is so much easier to describe how whales eat if you can see their long, hair-like baleen and run your fingers through the filaments, imagining the shrimp being filtered through. Imagining rows of sharks teeth is actually pretty tricky, but not if you’re holding a jaw! Busking like this makes it easy for us at The National Marine Aquarium to explain difficult concepts and give our visitors an experience they won’t forget in a hurry! As for the games we play, well, you’ll just have to come along and see for yourself…

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