Duchess and Attenborough to unveil Museum Treasures

12 November 2012

On Tuesday 27 November, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will be the guest of honour with Sir David Attenborough at the grand opening of the Natural History Museum’s new Treasures gallery.

Detail of the jewel-like nacreous ammonite, a 200-million-year-old fossil sea creature

Fossilised spiral shell of one of Britain's earliest ammonites, a 200-million-year-old sea creature. It was collected by the 'father of geology', William Smith.

The Duchess will view 22 of the most extraordinary specimens that have ever been on display at the Museum, brought together to form the inspiring Treasures gallery

Each object has been hand-picked by Museum scientists for the fascinating story it has to tell and all objects represent an important part of the Museum’s scientific, historical, social and cultural worth. 

Only 6 of the 22 specimens have been revealed so far, while the remaining hidden treasures will be uncovered on the gallery’s launch. 

The gallery will showcase rare first editions of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and Audubon’s Birds of America.

Other star specimens include; the famous Archaeopteryx  fossil that showed that modern birds are the descendants of small meat-eating dinosaurs; exquisite glass models of marine life known as the Blaschka models; and 200 million year old ammonites that prompted the science of geology, the study of Earth’s structure. 

Delicate Blaschka glass model of a sea creature.

Blaschka glass model of a sea creature. These models are more than 100 years old and the secret technique used to make them was lost when the father and son team died.

The Treasures gallery will be in the upper mezzanine floor of the awe-inspiring Central Hall, overlooking the iconic Diplodocus

It will be a permanent public gallery with free entry, offering visitors a snapshot of the vast collections in a short space of time, and providing an inspiration to explore other galleries, exhibitions and events.

Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum said, ‘We are thrilled Her Royal Highness will join Sir David in helping us celebrate the opening of Treasures. 

'We hope that she will be the first of many visitors to discover everything the Museum represents in this special gallery.’

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