Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum (33)

The Natural History Museum forms, along with the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, a glorious triangle of knowledge in the South Kensington area. Today it is a veritable temple consecrated to inform us in every detail on the evolution of the planet we live on, of the species that surround us and, naturally, of the human being.  

Created after the split from the British Museum, to start with, the main bulk of its collection was made up of the 80,000 pieces donated by the physician and collector Sir Hans Sloane on his death. Over time, the Natural History Museum has become a reference centre in both research and conservation work and in everything to do with taxonomy, the classification technique used in biology. The collection currently has 70 million objects and specimens, classified in 5 main sections: palaeontology, zoology, entomology, botany and mineralogy.

Moreover, the museum can boast of having enlarged its collections thanks to figures as mythical as Captain Cook and the selfsame Charles Darwin and to expeditions such as the one undertaken by the Challenger vessel between 1872 and 1874.

1985 saw the merger between the Natural History Museum and the Geological Museum, which considerably increased the museum’s mineralogy collection. With time this became the Earth Galleries, the areas dedicated to the planet Earth. In the room called The Power Within, an earthquake is recreated in a reproduction of a supermarket in Kobe.

In 2002 the Darwin Centre was opened, dedicated to research and teaching activities, which houses thousands of jars with animals conserved in formol. 

The massive museum building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and was opened in 1881. Of an imposing appearance, it is supported by an iron and steel structure. The façade, which features arches and columns, is decorated with carvings of animals and plants that pay homage to the diversity of nature.

Among the greatest hits of the Natural History Museum are the spaces dedicated to the dinosaurs. Just on entering the vestibule, you will find yourself before a 26-metre long skeleton of a Diplodocus. However, it is the terrifying animated life-size reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that attracts all the looks, above all those of the younger ones. 

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