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Grant Museum of Zoology reopens after major refurb

5 February 2024

’s historic Grant Museum of Zoology reopens to the public on Tuesday 6th February 2024 after a £300,000 improvement programme, including new displays connecting the Museum’s collections to biodiversity and conservation research.

Grant Museum of Zoology

Having closed its doors in March 2023, the redeveloped Museum tells a story of the human impact on the diversity of life on Earth and showcases how research is responding to the planetary environmental crisis.

Established in 1828 as a teaching collection in comparative anatomy, the Grant Museum of Zoology is now home to around 68,000 zoological specimens, including extinct and extant animal species, fluid-preserved specimens, taxidermy, glass and wax animal models, fossils and pinned entomology. The Museum is visited by around 40,000 people each year.

Visitors returning this year will find the beautifully unique floor-to-ceiling displays and atmospheric charm intact, but significant work has been undertaken on the presentation and conservation of specimens. New interpretation explores the human impact on biodiversity and how the collections can inspire and challenge us to rebalance our relationship with nature.

The new exhibits highlight the use of the collections in cutting-edge research, including tiny Seychellesfrogs monitored by researchers who use sound recordings to track their response to climate change. Another display shows sawfish rostra (long, flat snouts edged with teeth) used in an international project that sampled the specimens’ DNA to analyse the genetic health of living sawfish species.

The project in numbers:

  • Six new showcases

  • 7,000 specimen moves

  • 200 conservation treatments

  • 350 new labels

External funding for the improvement work was awarded jointly by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Foundation through the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund and was announced at the Grant Museum in December 2022.

Tannis Davidson, Head of Zoology and Science Collections at , said:“We are delighted to be re-opening our doors and celebrating how the Grant Museum collection continues to have an enormous impact on how we understand and learn from the natural world. We look forward to welcoming visitors old and new to enjoy the beautiful new displays and connect with the challenges facing biodiversity to inspire positive action.”

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (LCCOS - Library, Culture, Collections & Open Science), said: “We are hugely grateful to DCMS Wolfson for making this redevelopment possible. The Grant Museum team have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, improving the care we can give these invaluable collections and creating exciting displays that will immerse visitors in current research."

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  • Credit: James Tye

Media contact

Sophie Hunter

E: sophie.hunter[at]ucl.ac.uk