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Facts About London’s Natural History Museum

Ishwari Pamu May 18, 2019
It’s no doubt that London has a lot to offer when it comes to sightseeing, but one place that should be on every visitor’s itinerary is the Natural History Museum. Housed in one of the most beautiful buildings in London, the museum is known for its remarkable architecture and dinosaur exhibit.

A Collection by Sir Hans Sloane

The origin of this museum dates back to 1753 when Sir Hans Sloane left his vast collection to the British government. The artifacts were originally housed in the British Museum, but by the mid-19th century, Sir Richard Owen had convinced the government that a new building was necessary.

Architecture

Francis Fowke, a renowned architect, was originally in charge of the build. Shortly after his sudden death, Alfred Waterhouse took over the work. He notably revised the plans and used a mixture of Gothic Revival and 12th century Romanesque architecture. He also added the distinctive facades and baroque decorations that the building is known for.

A Cathedral To Nature

The museum has become a symbolic part of London and its collection of biological artifacts continues to be ever-expanding. When you enter this cathedral-like building, you immediately come face-to-face with a gigantic blue whale that does justice to the enormous space that rises before and above you.

Meet Dippy!

Yes. The dinosaur at the entrance has a name, Dippy. She is a 26-meter long replica of a diplodocus skeleton and is said to have been on display for 112 years. It was removed in 2017 and replaced by the skeleton of a young, 25.2 meter blue whale. Dippy is on a tour of UK that started in 2018 and will be completed by 2020.

A Cup Made From Human Skull?

Retrieved from Gough’s cave in Somerset, England, the skull cup is about 14,700 years old and made from an inverted human calvaria. It is believed that the soft tissue of the skull was removed soon after the person died and was used as a drinking vessel or an eating bowl.

It’s Big! Really Really Big!

The museum’s collection holds more than 70 million botanical specimens that range from herbs to wildflowers, and 55 million animal exhibits.
It also houses around 9 million archaeological relics and 500,000 minerals and rocks. Its fossil mammal collection includes an estimated 250,000 specimens.
The museum also has the first ever found fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest carnivores to ever walk the earth. The dinosaur collection was founded on Gideon Mantell’s collections and the entire collection contains 157 taxa, 115 include original material and 69 are type specimens.

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Free of Charge

A good thing about the museum is that the admission is free. Around 4 million people visit the museum every year.