Natural History Museum

16:37 Mon 24th May 2010 |

The Natural History Museum is a must see sight for any visitor to London. With more than 70 million specimens, ranging from microscopic slides to mammoth skeletons, the Museum is home to the largest and most important natural history collection in the world.

The Natural History Museum first opened its doors to the public on Easter Monday in 1881, but its origins go back more than 250 years. It started when physician and collector of natural curiosities, Sir Hans Sloane, left his extensive collection (of over 80,000 items) to the nation in 1753.

The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, and ornate architecture — sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature — both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast which dominates the vaulted central hall, affectionately known as Dippy. The museum holds the remains and bones of the River Thames Whale that lost its way on 20 January 2006 and swam into the Thames.

The museum is a world-renowned centre of research, specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Darwin.

The museum is split into Galleries to enhance the experience:

•    Red Zone - Themed around the changing history of the Earth.
•    Green Zone – Investigate Earth’s ecology.
•    Blue Zone – Discover amazing facts about life, the planet, our environment and evolution.
•    Orange Zone - Explore the Wildlife Garden and see into the spectacular Darwin Centre.

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Contact details for the Natural History Museum tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5000 (8.00-17.50 Mon-Fri; 9.00-17.50 Sat-Sun) alternatively the website has an online enquiry form.

Admission to the museum is free, although there is a charge for some temporary exhibitions.

The Natural History Museum is open every day, including Sundays and Bank Holidays from 10.00 – 17.50 (last admission 17.30). The museum is closed between 24 - 26 December inclusive.

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