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Description

This museum has a very bizarre building – covered with multicolored tiles, intricately shaped, more like a church than a museum, it is a landmark in its own right. But as soon as a visitor steps inside – he forgets about the exterior decoration, because in the huge entrance hall stands the same huge replica of a diplodocus skeleton. It’s 32 meters long – there’s a lot to see here, and that’s just the beginning.

The most popular part of the museum is the Dinosaur Gallery. Both adults and children enjoy it equally.

The most famous exhibits are: a thirty-meter model of a blue whale, a skeleton of a giant diplodocus (26 meters, a moulage) in the central hall, a moving model of a tyrannosaur. Skeletons of humanoid apes hang picturesquely from the balconies. You’re unlikely to see such an ornate museum in London.

The interiors, like the facade, are in the Romanesque-Byzantine style. In practice, it’s déjà vu: you’ll always feel like the scenes at Hogwarts (Harry Potter School) or Night at the Museum were filmed here. This building was built especially for the museum in the second half of the 19th century, and the final withdrawal of the museum from British jurisdiction only took place in 1963.

History of Creation

The Natural History Museum came into being, like many other English museums, thanks to a private collection. In the 17th century there was a doctor in London – a very fashionable one who treated aristocratic patients – named Hans Sloane. All his life he was involved in the natural sciences and collected a collection of related rarities.

Hans Sloane was a very successful man; he treated as many as three English monarchs, so over his long life (he lived almost a hundred years, from 1660 to 1753) he gathered a huge collection, and since he knew the subject, it was not just big, but also very, very good and one of the best in the country.

Hans Sloane was a champion of education, headed the Royal College of Physicians for many years, was head of the Royal Society (the most serious in the world at that time), succeeded Isaac Newton in that post, founded Britain’s first non-Church orphanage, He was Britain’s first doctor to be awarded nobility for his personal achievements and the first person in the world to mix chocolate with hot milk, thus becoming the creator of drinking hot chocolate (he created it, by the way, as a medicine).

After Hans Sloane’s death, it turned out that he bequeathed his entire vast collection to the nation. Almost at the same time the nation received two more gifts – two large libraries – so Parliament decided to create a public museum to hold this national treasure, which was simply called “The British”. Thus came into being one of the largest museums in the world today – the British Museum – and Hans Sloan’s natural science collection became part of the museum’s exposition}}.

The museum grew, the collection became more and more diverse, the natural science section ceased to be the only one, grew larger – and in 1863 it was decided to move it to a separate building. The museum is still located in that building, growing more and more, with the only difference: in 1866 it was separated from the British Museum and became an independent Museum of Natural History.

Museum building

The museum building was built in 1880 by the then famous architect Alfred Waterhouse. It was largely thanks to him that the notion of “Victorian Gothic” emerged, but he designed the museum in the Romanesque style. It was decided to cover the outside walls with terracotta tiles so that the dirt from the famous London smog would settle on them less – the smog had already been eliminated by the beginning of the 20th century, but the tiles remained. The building is decorated with sculptures depicting animals and plants and surrounded by a small park.

Exposition

The museum consists of two parts – the research part and the exhibition part.

The research part is closed to the public; it conducts research and keeps closed parts of the collection – for example, samples of animals (bones, stuffed animals or drawings) that have already disappeared from the face of the earth (you can only learn what they looked like from the museum materials). Research has been going on there for many years, and many serious scientists, including Darwin and Wallace, have worked with the museum.

The second part is actually the museum itself, that is, the galleries with exhibits. There are a lot of them, and they are all open to the public.

The Museum of Natural History displays exhibits related to nature (living and non-living) and its development.

The museum is divided into zones by color. The blue one is always crowded: dinosaurs, reptiles, marine animals and mammals are collected here. The green zone has birds, insects and plants. The red zone is devoted to geology and mineralogy (the collection of stones and minerals exceeds 500 thousand items, and even includes meteorites), there are models of volcanoes and simulated earthquakes. The Orange Zone is home to the Darwin Center and Wildlife Garden. The museum has laboratories, and even young children can participate in experiments without paying a pound.

The Natural History Museum has a gigantic collection, with about 80 million exhibits. You can see bones of prehistoric animals, many reconstructions, endangered or extinct animal species, collections of shells, bones, minerals and much more. There is a lot of it all, there are rare items that exist in a single copy.

The collection includes many items famous in their own right, such as the collection of specimens collected by Darwin, specimens of flora and fauna brought back by many explorers and captains from pioneering voyages, rare books, and much more.

The most popular part of the museum is the Dinosaur Gallery. Both adults and children enjoy it equally.

There are also nature-related exhibitions going on at the museum all the time, some of which may be for a fee, with tickets starting at 7 GBP, but they are always very good and unusual.

The prices on the page are for November 2019.

For kids

The museum is completely geared toward children, and its creators have succeeded in making the dryly academic discipline open to children as a fun, bright and interesting adventure. All the exhibitions are designed and voiced in such a way that it is interesting first and foremost for a child. There are a lot of interactive things – you can twist, jerk, listen, etc., there are simulators (an earthquake simulator, for example).

There are a lot of activities for kids – a kid can touch a copy of a dinosaur bone, hold some harmless animals, etc. Although it must be said that the adults there are interesting without all that.

If you want to go somewhere in London with a child, this is one of the best options: especially for children, unusual, fun and educational. Adults will also find it interesting.

Practical information

The museum is open daily (even on all holidays except Christmas) from 10:00 to 17:50, and on the last Friday of each month until 22:30. Admission is free for all.

Keep in mind that the museum is always full of children and children’s school trips, so it is always noisy.

The museum is located here, London, SW7 5BD, Cromwell Road, Natural History Museum. It is very close to South Kensington tube station, there is an underpass from the station lobby directly to the museum. The station is almost always congested.

All of the museum’s systems are designed with children and family visits in mind: there are baby toilets and changing rooms, changing rooms accept strollers, all cafes and restaurants have children’s menus, etc.

Around the museum

The museum is located in the center of the museum district in an area called South Kensington. It’s a beautiful, quiet neighborhood in which you can walk with your child as well. There’s a big park nearby – Kensington Gardens, lots of good cafes and restaurants, and two other big museums – the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum.

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