Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien
For Two Temple Place is just lovely - but then to fill it with a giant model DNA guarded by the building's wooden musketeers, a dodo, a polar explorers diary and much more ... well, what a treat.
Two Temple Place was built by Lord Astor in 1895 and is crammed with goodies, from a boat shaped wind vane (below) to doors encouraging women into arts and crafts (below that):
It is currently home to an exhibition from Cambridge University, focussing on Discoveries in Arts, Sciences and Exploration.
And there's been quite a few scientists they can refer to, such as this egg collected by Charles Darwin on his voyage around the world on the Beagle:
If you're wondering who broke it, well that would be Darwin himself, trying to squeeze it into a slightly too small box (oops).
There was also a complete dodo skeleton (top) and in the background an amazing bronze roaring lion mask from south Arabia that is apparently so unusual it is hard to date, as it has no comparisons. Even the exhibitions own web site's page on the item seems unsure, dating it as either 350 - 750 BC or 600 - 800 BC.
In the central stairwell there is a wonderful DNA, a replica of the one created by its discoverers, James Watson and Francis Crick, guarded by a musketeer:
Upstairs there are more exhibits including this diary from one of the many high latitude expeditions organised by Cambridge's Polar Institute:
All in all a gem: enough but not too much, and in a truly spectacular building.
Free to entry its open until the 27th of April and you can get a feel for it via this BBC audio slideshow.
(*) It turns out it has been opened to the public since October 2011 and then only during an exhibition.