Although small in size, the Grant Museum of Zoology is packed with wonders of natural science.
Located on the University College London campus, this free museum is filled with rare and interesting zoological specimens. This “dead zoo” has the vibe of walking into a Victorian curiosity cabinet.
It’s sublime. I spent about forty-five minutes engrossed in the exhibits.
Although free, nothing in life is truly free, and many of the specimens in the Grant Museum of Zoology are very old. The collection began in 1827 and it is one of the oldest natural history museums in England. These delicate treasures need care and although Trump has made “great again” a negative phrase, I think it works in this context.
One of the first exhibits is the Quagga: The rarest skeleton in the world. This alone was worth the visit. Unfortunately, I could not get a great picture of it for this review, however seeing it in person is far more impressive. The absence of a picture and promise of something incredible is the nudge I’m giving you to visit the Grant Museum of Zoology for yourself.
Besides the very rare, the museum also houses the smallest of specimens in its Micrarium. The Micrarium is filled with slides of tiny species from the animal kingdom.
The Grant Museum of Zoology is absolutely stuffed ( pun intended) with animals. This one-room museum has a second floor that is not for visitors, yet animals peer down from above. Here are several pictures that I took while exploring.
You might have noticed on the above pictures, that some of the exhibits are “adopted” by individuals. In addition to the collection box for “Making Taxidermy Great Again,” the museum has a program where people can donate to sponsor a particular exhibit. As soon as I have some spare funds, I’m going to do this and I know what I need to adopt.
I’m pushing Becca Valentine aside and getting my Flamingo skull. I have a love/hate relationship with flamingos. As a child, they were my favorite animal. In sixth grade, we had to write a report regarding what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to work at the zoo and I wrote to the Los Angeles Zoo, enlisting a keeper to answer my questions. The front of my report had a photograph of the Flamingo exhibit.
Be careful what you wish for…
Flash-forward a few decades and I found myself volunteering for the zoo’s behavioral research department. I ended up on a project where I spent over 2000 hours observing flamingos. They are foul fowl! I’m no longer enchanted by flamingos, but of course flamingos persist in my life. Flamingo themed items are everywhere and now, to friends and family, I am associated with flamingos. So, I fear there is no other choice, but to adopt the flamingo skull.
Or perhaps the other creature of my nightmares…
I didn’t know about Lampreys until a few years ago and they are the real-life monsters from a B-Horror film. I wrote all about living ones that we saw at the Bonneville Dam in Oregon. Check it out.
To some, it may seem creepy, morbid, or perhaps even unethical to keep a collection of animal specimens. However, many of items in the collection are generations old and animal specimens are a vital way that scientists can study animals, both those that are currently living and those that have become extinct.
Studying animals can help to understand and preserve species that are still roaming the planet. It can help us better understand ourselves and our environment. I highly recommend the Grant Museum of Zoology as an educational, fascinating, and important place to visit in London.