Museum Quiz!

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

I thought that seeing as under lockdown all our favourite museums and galleries around the world are closed we could do with some museum-related fun. So I’ve created a quiz based on some of the fascinating information in my book A Museum Miscellany. Do dive in and give it a go, answers to follow in a separate blog post. Good luck!

1. Which museum consistently tops the list of the most visited museum or gallery in the world?

a) National Museum of China

b) The Louvre

c) Metropolitan Museum of Art

d) The British Museum

2. Sir Hans Sloane’s incredible collection of natural history objects formed the basis for London’s Natural History Museum, but which fruit did he name?

a) avocado

b) banana

c) physalis

d) mango

3. True or false: The Night Watch by Rembrandt depicts a night scene?

4. The World’s smallest museum is housed inside what?

a) A tea-chest

b) A canoe

c) A telephone box

d) A shipping container

5. Which world famous museum is home to a large number of resident cats?

6. How many elephants feature in the American Museum of Natural History’s famous Hall of African Mammals diorama?

7. Which museum owns the most complete and scientifically valuable dodo remains in the world?

a) The Smithsonian

b) London’s Natural History Museum

c) The Grant Museum of Zoology

d) Oxford University Museum of Natural History

8. The largest single property theft took place in 1990 when thieves made off with artworks worth over $500 million from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but how did the thieves disguise themselves?

a) As clowns

b) As museum guards

c) As police officers

d) As cleaners

9. How long did it take Picasso to paint his huge mural painting Guernica?

a) 3 weeks

b) 3 months

c) 3 days

d) 3 years

10. Put these museums in the order that they were established:

Musee des Beaux-arts et D’archaeologie (Besançon, France), Princess Ennigaldi’s Museum (Ur, Iraq), Ashmolean Museum (Oxford), Capitoline Museums (Rome, Italy).

11. What part of Sir John Heydon is preserved at Norwich Castle Museum? Bonus points if you know how the body part became separated from its owner.

12. Which museum is depicted in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch?

13. Since 2018 the Museum of London have displayed a sample of the largest fatberg ever discovered – but just how big was it?

a) 27 metres long

b) 127 metres long

c) 526 metres long

d) 250 metres long

14. The Louvres is the largest art museum in the world. If you spent just 30 seconds looking at each object in the museum, how many days would it take you to see the whole collection?

a) 100 days

b) 10 days

c) 1,000 days

d) 57 days

15. It has long been tradition for incoming US presidents to request the loan of some artworks from America’s museums. Which artwork did Donald Trump request (and was refused)?

a) Whaam! By Roy Lichenstein

b) Dogs Playing Poker by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

c) Landscape with Snow by Van Gogh

d) Water Lillies by Monet

Check the answers here. Why not share how well you did in the comments? If you enjoyed the quiz please do share it with your friends and family. Keen for more fabulous museum facts? Buy A Museum Miscellany here.

Museum quiz ANSWERS

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

Hopefully you are reading this page because you have already had a go at my museum quiz, if not, no cheating now, click here to try the quiz.

1.  b) The Louvres has held the top spot of most visited museums for a number of years with a peak of 9.3 million visitors in 2015.

2. Sir Hans Sloane gave the avocado its name in his 1696 catalogue of Jamaican plants.

3. False. The Night Watch does not in fact depict a night scene, its just the layers and layers of varnish applied to the work over the years have caused it to appear as if the scene is set at night. The painting completed in 1642 is actually entitled ‘Officers and Other Civic Guardsmen of District II Amsterdam’ but became popularly known as The Night Watch from the 18th century.

4. The World’s smallest museum is the Warley Museum in West Yorkshire whose collection is housed inside an old red telephone box.

5. The Hermitage has maintained a population of cats since 1745 when they were brought in to control the mice. Today the museums is home to approximately 75 felines.

6. 8 elephants appear in the diorama, one of which was shot and killed by Theodore Roosevelt.

7. No whole dodo skeleton exists but the mummified head and foot of a dodo is kept at Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History. Due to the survival of soft tissue on the specimen scientists have been able to extract DNA, making it an extremely valuable specimen.

8. c) As police officers. The thieves arrived before the museum opened for the day pretending that they were responding to a disturbance. Once inside they tied up the museum guards and made off with 13 paintings by artists such as Degas, Vermeer and Manet. To date the works have yet to be recovered.

9. a) 3 weeks

10. 1. Princess Ennigaldi’s Museum (Ur, Iraq) – established c. 530 BCE

2. Capitoline Museums (Rome, Italy) – established 1471.

3. Ashmoleon Museum (Oxford) – established 1683

4. Musee des Beaux-arts et D’archaeologie (Besançon, France) – established 1694

11. Sir John Heydon’s hand was severed in a duel in 1620 and today resides in an ornate box at Norwich Castle Museum.

12. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is the setting for The Goldfinch, despite the fact that the painting The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius is actually housed by the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

13. The fatberg was 250 metres long and weighed in at 130 tonnes. It was largely comprised of grease, congealed oil and wet wipes.

14. a) It has been calculated that it would take 100 days to view every item in the museum’s collection.

15. c) Landscape with Snow by Van Gogh. The Guggenheim refused Trump’s request and instead offered America by Maurizio Cattelan – a fully-functioning gold toilet

Keen for more fabulous museum facts? Buy A Museum Miscellany here.

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

My Next Book: A Museum Miscellany

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

It is with great excitement that I introduce my next book A Museum Miscellany — the final instalment of my miscellany trilogy (see here for more details on sister books The Book Lovers’ Miscellany and A Library Miscellany). I am especially excited about the gorgeous cover designed in-house by my wonderful publishers, Bodleian Library Publishing and I cannot wait to finally see all three miscellanies lined up side-by-side, looking fancy.

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

To whet the appetite here is what to expect from A Museum Miscellany:

Which are the oldest museums in the world? What is a cabinet of curiosities? Who haunts Hampton Court? What is on the FBI’s list of stolen art?

A Museum Miscellany celebrates the intriguing world of galleries and museums, from national institutions such as the Musee du Louvre, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to niche collections such as the Lawnmower Museum and the Museum of Barbed Wire. Here you will find a cornucopia of museum-related facts, statistics and lists, covering everything from museum ghosts, dangerous museum objects and conservation beetles to treasure troves, museum heists and the Museum of London’s fatberg. Bursting with quirky facts, intriguing statistics and legendary curators, this is the perfect gift for all those who love to visit museums and galleries.

Not only will A Museum Miscellany be fit to bursting with all the lists, arcane facts and potted histories you will have come to expect from me, but in a departure from previous books this one will contain … [drum roll]…ILLUSTRATIONS! It’s going to be a beauty and I look forward to sharing more details here and on Twitter (@nonfictioness) when I get my grubby mitts on an advance copy.

A Museum Miscellany is out in the UK on 4 October 2019 and you can pre-order your copy here.