HRH The Duchess of Cambridge unveils Museum Treasures

28 November 2012

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Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was guest of honour at the grand opening of the Natural History Museum’s new Treasures Cadogan Gallery last night. Treasures displays 22 of the most extraordinary specimens that have ever been on show at the Museum, and opens 30 November to the public.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Museum Trustee Chair Oliver Stocken and Museum Director M Dixo

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and Museum Trustee Chair Oliver Stocken and Museum Director Michael Dixon at the opening of Treasures in 2012.

The Duchess, who wore a green Mulberry dress for the evening, commented, ‘The Natural History Museum has a very special place in the heart of this nation. William and I are just two of millions of people who have passed through these doors, and marvelled at the spectacular wonders of the natural world, housed in this beautiful gallery. 

'I care passionately about what this museum stands for. Being here tonight, seeing some of nature’s finest treasures, reminds me just how precious and awe inspiring the natural world is. That is why the opening of Treasures is so incredibly exciting.  If it were ever needed, there is now even more reason to visit this wonderful museum.’

Sir David Attenborough had been expected to attend the event, but due to unforeseen circumstances was not present.

The Duchess met curators and viewed four star specimens in detail:

Archaeopteryx is the earliest known bird and this is the first one ever found. It is the most valuable fossil in the Museum’s collection. This is the type specimen of the species, the one to which all others are compared.

The one-metre tall The Birds of America by John James Audubon is the world’s most expensive book. There are only around 120 complete four-volume copies in the world.

Charles Darwin owned these everyday pigeons, and they provided crucial evidence for his theory that changed the world: evolution by natural selection.

The Wold Cottage meteorite is the earliest surviving meteorite seen to land in the UK and helped confirm that meteorites fall from space. It formed during the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Each of the 22 objects have 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.

Treasures in the Cadogan Gallery is free to visit, giving a snapshot of the vast collections in a short space of time. It is located in the upper mezzanine floor of the awe-inspiring Central Hall, overlooking the iconic Diplodocus.

Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum said, ‘We are thrilled Her Royal Highness joined us to celebrate the opening of Treasures. We hope that she is the first of many visitors to discover everything the Museum represents in this special gallery.’

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