The largest museum collection of domestic dogs in the UK go back on display in the re-opening of Gallery 6 at the Natural History Museum at Tring today.
Eight months and 837 cleaned specimens later, the revamped Gallery 6 is now ready to show off its weird and wonderful collections once again.
The Victorian Museum, founded by Lionel Walter Rothschild more than 100 years ago, has outstanding examples of 19th century taxidermy as well as housing the world-class research collections of the Natural History Museum’s Bird Group.
'In Gallery 6, we’ve tried to retain the historical look and feel of Walter Rothschild’s important displays,' says Paul Kitching, Museum Manager. 'While making sure the information about each of the animals is as up-to-date and as accurate as possible.'
The lighting, colour scheme and signage have all been updated to bring to life information about this amazing collection.
New labels and information let visitors learn why dogs look so different even though they are all one species, or why ostriches don’t really bury their heads in the sand.
Visitors can now discover more about Walter Rothschild in a new section that focuses on his work and legacy.
There is a display showing how taxidermists prepare animals which includes a video that shows the details of how the job is done.
All the animals in the gallery have been painstakingly cleaned.
Marsupials, giant tortoises and a komodo dragon are some of the highlighted specimens. The tallest animal is a 3-metre high model of a moa that Walter Rothschild had made in the early 20th century.
There is a Tasmanian wolf, a species that is now extinct. And other mammals include Tasmanian devil, koala, anteaters, sloths, pangolins and otters as well as over 80 domestic dogs.
‘Gallery 6 is a great example of some of the more weird and wonderful treasures we have on display in our museums,' says Culture Minister, Barbara Follett.
'It is marvellous to see such emphasis being placed on imaginative and informative displays, and this can only bring more visitors through the doors.’
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation awarded the Museum an £87,000 grant for the works in August 2007.