Exactly one year ago I drove up to Vilareal to attend the opening of my friend's Raúl Pérez and María Herreros' exhibition at the TEST art show. It was a great show, we had some laughs and went for lunch. When it was time to leave it was suggested that we should visit the nearby village of Onda's El Carmen Natural Sciences Museum.
My memory of that place was wild. I first went there on a school trip at a very early age and it totally blew my mind. Basically the place is full of stuffed animals and really creepy stuff and there's this crazy orange light at sunset that comes through the windows and into the jars full of horse babies and weird shit. I must have been 7 years old back then, but this memory a human baby in a jar with this burning orange light flooding the whole museum stuck in my head forever.
So yeah, definitely when it was suggested that we went there I definitely agreed. Luckily I had my camera with me so I took a couple shots.
At the beginning I thought my childhood memories must have been from a different place, 'cause I didn't see brains in jars or any beautiful natural light coming though the windows. I had literally no remembrance of the first floor, which was full of (now kitschy) dioramas full of stuffed animals. I wasn't until I got to the second and specially the third floor that I realized that's the only thing that stuck in my memory. I was lucky that by the time we had to leave the sun was setting and coming in through the curtains and I had just seen those crazy jars with a baby and a brain and it finally all came into place.
Actually the owner of the museum was there and he explained everything about its origins. It was interesting to see that these were all donations from the families of hunters that passed away and even pet owners that had their dogs stuffed and donated them in order to be able to keep visiting them (kinda creepy actually).
It was quite revealing to visit a place that really left a mark on your childhood's visual memories, that has been left untouched since then, and compare the experiences felt then and now.
Kinda wish I'd taken a camera back when I was 7. Or maybe not.