Annual reviews

The blue whale in Hintze Hall

Our planet is experiencing unprecedented levels of pollution, extensive habitat loss and global threats to biodiversity.

At this critical point in Earth's history, it is more important than ever to engage people with the natural world.

Providing opportunities to discover the beauty and diversity of life on Earth is at the heart of everything we do.

Our collections are some of the most important of their kind in the world, and they tell stories of evolution, extinction and environmental change.

They make the Museum not only one of the most visited attractions in the world, but also one of the most relevant.

    

Our highlights

The past year has been busy at the Museum. Highlights include:

  • More than 4.5 million people visited our South Kensington site.
  • Hintze Hall was transformed, and now features a diving blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling.
  • Dippy, our Diplodocus cast, was sent on a tour of the UK.
  • Three acclaimed temporary exhibitions launched - Whales: Beneath the Surface, Venom: Killer and Cure, and Dodos: Old Bird, New Tricks.
  • The winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, photojournalist Brent Stirton, attracted international attention for his photograph of a recently shot and de-horned black rhino.
  • Thousands of people attended Dawnosaurs, our free programme of events for children on the autism spectrum.
  • Citizen science initiative Project Plumage has seen thousands of volunteers help scientists to understand how diversity has evolved in birds.
  • Touring exhibition Treasures of the Natural World moved to Singapore, where it was seen by more than 92,000 visitors.
  • An app for children called Naturenauts is encouraging young people to explore nature.
  • By the end of March 2018 we had released nearly four million specimen records as part of our digitisation project.
  • A new virtual reality experience, Hold the World, was launched. Users can go behind the scenes at the Museum with legendary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.
  • In January 2018 we launched our first centre of excellence, the Centre for Human Evolution Research (CHER).
  • Pioneering research by human evolution and ancient DNA specialists revealed the genetic makeup of a 10,000-year-old skeleton known as Cheddar Man. No genome from a British individual this old had ever been sequenced before.
  • The Museum became a major collaborator on the CryoArks Biobank, the first national bank of frozen animal material in the UK.
  • The schools programme launched a new show, Adventure to the Deep. Students can virtually board a scientific submersible and explore life in the ocean.