I wrote this story a few years ago around hallowe’en. It takes a critical look at the colonialist history and dodgy science of cherished British institutions.
I love the Horniman Museum and want to stress that I do not share all of the views presented in this short story! In real life the Horniman does a great job of decolonialising its exhibits. Check out their website here.
Content Warning for horror, suspense, and gore. The Horniman Museum is partly an ethnographical institution, and this story portrays a cavalier attitude to indigenous artefacts in order to critique that attitude.
When I first moved down to London, I did so fully expecting to find work at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. Like many evolutionary biologists before me, that hallowed building sparked off an insatiable passion in my young self—a desire to totally comprehend the natural world and its mysteries. Unlike the Victorian scholars who set up that palace of learning, I have never carried the inclination to catalogue and quantify. My leaning was more towards a holistic understanding on Nature—an understanding that allows for unknown and un-knowable factors. I wanted—and still want—to grasp the essence and spirit of the savage wilds, not to tame them, but to revel in their spiritual freedom. Continue reading “An Unnatural History”