The Gibraltar Museum will be opening its doors for their 17th annual Open Day on Saturday 19th May 2018 from 10:00 to 18:00, which as in other years is aimed to coincide as closely as possible with International Museum Day (18 May). This year’s international theme is “Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics”.

International Museum Day has been celebrated in Gibraltar since 2002 in the form of an open day which continues to increase in popularity within the local community. The Open Day promises to be fun-filled with plenty of activities, primarily aimed at young people, but also for the young at heart.

The staff at the Gibraltar Museum will be on hand to answer any questions and, as in previous years, there will be a range of hands-on activities for all to enjoy. The Gibraltar Museum will also count on contributions from the Gibraltar National Archives and the Nautilus Project.

The popular children’s events, such as the treasure hunt and fancy dress competition will once again feature on the day, with prizes for the winners. This year’s fancy dress competition will carry an open historical theme. Participants are asked to register on the day from 10:00 to 12:30.

Martin the Neanderthal

This year’s event will also include a special exhibition of an articulated Neanderthal skeleton reproduction which will be on display to the Gibraltarian public for the first time. In the absence of a complete Neanderthal skeleton anywhere, this reproduction is the next best currently available. The skeleton is formally known as La Ferrassie 1 but it has been decided to call him Martin, reflecting one of the commonest birds to have lived with the Neanderthals in Gibraltar and one that still survives here today.

Martin joins Nana and Flint in his new home in the Gibraltar Museum. The skeleton was found in France in 1909, is between 70-50,000 years old and is of a male Neanderthal of around 45 years of age at the time of death. This was the basis for much of the reproduction. La Ferrassie 1 is considered by many scientists to exhibit the ‘classic’ example of Neanderthal anatomy. His leg and feet bones proved without a doubt that Neanderthals walked upright and with a gait very similar to modern humans. This debunked the earlier reconstruction of the La Chapelle-aux-Saints Neanderthal skeleton by French palaeontologist Pierre Marcellin Boule that erroneously portrayed Neanderthals as stooped, brutish creatures.

The Gibraltar Museum is urging visitors to take a selfie with Martin on the day and post it on their usual social media pages.

Entrance is FREE all day.