The Natural History Museum Annual Report 2002|03
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The Director's view / 2002/3 Highlights / The Darwin Centre / Our Research / The collections / Exhibitions / Sharing knowledge / Managing our assets / Museum supporters / 2003 exhibitions and events / Financial review / Publications / Feedback / Museum contacts / Previous Year's Reports / Full graphics version

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Opening Phase One / Science on display / Planning Phase Two / Developing the design / Raising the finance

The Darwin Centre: Opening Phase One
The launch of Phase One signals a profound change in our relationship with visitors, and a determination to break down barriers between scientists and the public.

The public opening of the Darwin Centre Phase One in September was the high point of the Museum’s year, and the outcome of much dedicated work by our scientific and professional teams.

Our zoology curators and researchers completed the daunting task of moving the 22 million zoology specimens to their new home, and prepared to communicate more about their science and the collections to the public.

Our Exhibitions and Visitor Services teams finalized the development of the innovative Darwin Centre visitor offer. Touch screens with information in 12 languages were prepared, together with full interpretation, graphics and audiovisual support. A successful recruitment and training drive enabled us to build a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team to introduce visitors to the Darwin Centre and ensure that they get the most from their experience.

Our Communications and Development teams mounted an extensive programme of public launches, marketing activities and fundraising events, culminating in the official opening by Her Majesty The Queen on 22 October. The Darwin Centre was launched to an enthusiastic reception from press and public and has been nominated for several awards, including shortlisting for the prestigious Gulbenkian Prize. In the first six months we welcomed more than 166,000 visitors.

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