Have you ever dreamt about sneaking into The Natural History Museum late at night – running through the galleries at full speed,
arms spread wide, climbing quietly into the exhibits, hopping on a stuffed zebra, imagining the winds from the savannah rushing through your hair, and sliding down the great blue whale’s spine in Hintze Hall all whilst playing its ribcage like the world’s biggest xylophone? Until, at last, the night guard catches on to what’s happening and chases you off into the night. No?

Well Ingla’s students didn’t have to go that far. Thanks to the Natural History Museum’s monthly Lates event we were invited in right through the front door. The NHM does an amazing job every month of curating a stimulating and engaging programme of events open to the public after hours. Our students had the opportunity to see this world famous museum in a new light (so to speak), while enjoying a slate of workshops and talks on how nature has been viewed and presented throughout history.

Our students explored the far reaches of the natural world by exploring the far reaches of the museum, discovering whale songs, the diversity of the mammalian world, and the long, slow march of evolution – all the while learning new phrases and words to show off to their friends.

We saw celebrated graphic novelist, Sydney Padua, demonstrate how nature has been animated throughout history and photographer Josh Burch talk about how he uses his images to inspire people about the natural world, among others. Our students’ nature, science, and art vocabulary jumped a thousand fold that night! And this is without even mentioning that during its Lates events the Natural History Museum is open in its entirety.

In the end, Inglans avoided being chased away by the night guard and no one used the great blue whale as a great blue slide, but everyone had a great evening practising English in the real world and learning about the natural world.

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