A night at the museum with the birds

Do exhibits come alive in the museum at night?
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Traditional Chinese musical instruments perfectly resemble bird calls.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Bird experts tell the secrets of birds to visitors.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A girl has a peacock painting around her eyes.

Have you ever imagined what it would be to visit museum at night?

And would the animals and exhibits on display come to life when the city goes to sleep just like what happens in the fantasy film “Night at the Museum?”

On Friday night, one eve of International Museum Day, the Shanghai Natural History Museum opened its doors to nearly 1,000 visitors in its annual night event

Birds played a leading role as part of the museum’s three-month “Bird Season” series of activities which are designed to raise people’s awareness of bird protection.

The season runs through June 30.

The “museum night” started at 6:30pm with a traditional Chinese music classic, Bai Niao Chao Feng -"100 birds paying homage to the phoenix."

Performers from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music used traditional Chinese instruments to play melodies, in which souna - a traditional Chinese double-reed woodwind shaped like a horn - imitating bird calls with its high-pitched, bright tones.

Du Mingqiu, architectural acoustics professor at Tongji University, explained the secrets of birdsong.

And children shook cabasa - a round-shaped percussion instrument and knocked bamboo instruments to make their own birdsong.

Birds experts guided people through a bird tour in the museum and gave mini-lectures, telling the origin and secrets of birds and revealing how humans have been inspired by birds to make inventions.

The workshops, combining culture and science, placed around the museum were a hit of the museum night.

Chen Jinmei, an inheritor of traditional Chinese paper-cutting in the Pudong New area, showed children how to cut two connected swans.

Crowds of children surrounded Zhu Ziyi and Chen Anqi from the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts of the Shanghai University, waiting for a special facial painting.

Eagles, parrots and peacocks came into life around their eyes or over their faces.

“I chose a peacock around my eyes because it glitters,” said Yaya, 8.

Folk craftsman Yang Zhibing displayed bird-shaped kites and a bamboo whistle that can imitate bird calls.



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