Surprising Sharks - a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum, Tring

Press release - 05 February 2008

Peer inside the jaws of a great white shark, marvel at the chocolate bar-sized spined pygmy shark and feel shark teeth and skin for yourself in Surprising Sharks, a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum at Tring.

Surprising Sharks
11 February – 6 July 2008

If you thought all sharks were human-eating killers this new exhibition, based on the popular book by Nicola Davies and featuring illustrations by James Croft, should give you a big surprise.

Find out fascinating facts about these amazing animals through Museum specimens, fun family friendly interactives and a specially designed gallery tour of the sharks around the Museum. Discover the amazing variety of shark shapes and sizes, tricks used by these fish to make them top predators and find out why humans are more of a threat to sharks than they are to us.

‘Sharks are captivating creatures with an undeserved bad reputation’ said Paul Kitching, Museum Manager of the Natural History Museum at Tring. ‘We hope this exhibition makes our visitors realise how incredible sharks are and that some prefer eating plankton to people.’

A range of activities will be running during the school holidays to accompany the exhibition including making shark sock puppets, fearsome fimo sharks and shark masks. The book, Surprising Sharks, together with a variety of shark-related souvenirs, will be available to buy in the shop at the Natural History Museum at Tring throughout the exhibition’s run.


Discover some fascinating facts about sharks

Visitor information

  • Address: The Natural History Museum at Tring, The Walter Rothschild Building,
    Akeman Street, Tring, Herts HP23 6AP
    Dates: 11 February – 6 July 2008
  • Admission: Free
  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00–17.00, Sunday 14.00–17.00
  • Access: Step-free access is limited to Gallery 1, the temporary exhibition gallery, the shop and Zebra Café. A virtual tour of the upper galleries of the Museum is available in the temporary exhibition gallery.
    Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 6171
  • Website:


Notes for editors

  • The Natural History Museum at Tring is the Natural History Museum’s sister museum in Hertfordshire. It opened in the late 1800s to house the collections of Lionel Walter, second Baron Rothschild and offers outstanding examples of nineteenth-century taxidermy at its very best.

    The museum was bequeathed to the nation and became part of the Natural History Museum in 1938. The public galleries were modernised, but the fascinating character of the Museum has been retained.

  • More than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy a glimpse into the fascinating world of a Victorian collector, where they can see a huge variety of wild, weird and wonderful specimens from across the animal kingdom – from armadillos to zebras.

  • The site at Tring also houses both the stunning Rothschild library and the Natural History Museum’s ornithological collection, which has been based there since the early 1970s.
Cartoon image of a stegasaurus disappearing through closing door

The first collected specimen of Theobroma cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is kept in the Museum.