Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London - Joy of Museum

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London exhibits a vast range of life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology. Many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture.

The Natural History Museum of London is particularly famous for its exhibition of skeletons and ornate architecture. It has been called a cathedral of nature, with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling of the vaulted central hall.

The Natural History Museum Library has an extensive collection of books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork linked to the work and research of the scientific departments. The Natural History Museum of London does not charge an admission fee.

A Tour of the Natural History Museum, London

Highlights of  the Natural History Museum, London

  • Stegosaurus Stenops
    • This Stegosaurus Stenops is the most complete skeleton ever found and represents a giant, slow-moving plant-eater, which defended itself from predators like with its powerful spiked tail. The bony plates along its back were embedded in the skin and not attached to its skeleton. Stegosaurus had a small head, and its brain was around the size of a baby’s hand.
  • Dodo
    • This Dodo is a model reconstruction of a life-size Dodo from skeletal remains. The dodo is an extinct flightless bird that existed only on the island of Mauritius. The dodo was about 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) tall and may have weighed 10.6–17.5 kg (23–39 lb) in the wild. The dodo’s appearance in life is evidenced only by drawings, paintings, and written accounts from the 17th century. However, these vary considerably, and because only some illustrations are known to have been drawn from live specimens, its exact appearance in life remains unresolved.
  • Blue Whale
    • This skeleton of a Blue Whale represents the largest animal known to have ever existed and yet one that feeds on only the smallest animals. Its diet consists almost exclusively of small crustaceans known as krill. This female Blue Whale skeleton has been named Hope by the museum as a symbol of humanity’s power to shape a sustainable future. It is one of the first species that humans decided to save on a global scale. Consisting of 221 bones, it is hung in the lifelike diving lunge feeding position.
  • Captain Robert Scott’s Emperor Penguin Egg
    • This Emperor penguin egg was collected on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s last expedition to the Antarctic, 1911. This egg is one of three fresh eggs collected by Scott’s ill-fated expedition to Antarctica. It was hoped that the embryo inside could be used to test the theory that studying emperor penguin embryos would show an evolutionary link between birds and reptiles.
  • Joseph Banks’ Herbarium Sheet from Cook’s First Voyage to Australia
    • This sample of Joseph Banks’ Herbarium Sheet is from Cook’s First Voyage to Australia. Banks was appointed to a joint James Cook’s scientific expedition to the south Pacific Ocean on HMS Endeavour, 1768–1771. It was the first of Cook’s voyages of discovery in that region. Banks funded seven others to join him, two naturalists, two artists, a scientific secretary, and two black servants from his estate.
  • Gogotte
    • This Gogotte was found in the Paris Basin France, where some of the most beautiful naturally occurring sculptures are found. A rare and intriguing example, it dates from the Oligocene Period and is 28 – 33 million years old. It is produced when superheated water extruded through crevices into a basin of extremely fine white silicate sand. The silica then cemented the sand together to form the Gogotte’s fluid lines, which created natural sculptures.
  • Great Handaxe from Furze Platt
    • This large handaxe was produced by the Acheulian culture of 400,000 years ago, during the Lower Palaeolithic period. It was found in Furze Platt, Berkshire, Britain, in 1919. It is one of the largest Handaxes ever found in Europe and considered too bulky to be useful, and therefore believed to have been a Neanderthal status symbol.
  • Iguanodon Teeth
    • These first Iguanodon Teeth ever found, triggered the discovery of dinosaurs. Mary Mantell found the teeth in 1822 as she pulled at rock fragments by the side of the road in Sussex. Her husband Gideon, an amateur paleontologist, noticed they were similar to modern iguana teeth but ten times larger. He suggested they belonged to a colossal ancient herbivorous lizard named Iguanodon.

Natural History Museum, London

  • Museum:       Natural History Museum, London
  • City:                London
  • Established:  1881
  • Type:              Natural History Museum
  • Location:       Kensington & Chelsea, London, United Kingdom

A Tour of Natural History Museums

A Tour of Science and Technology Museums

A Tour of Maritime Museums

A Tour of London’s Museums and Heritage Sites

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“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”
– Adam Smith

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Photo Credit: JOM

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