Celebrations planned to reveal scale and importance of the Natural History Museum’s collections, scientists and research ahead of public opening on 15 September
On Monday 14 September, His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales will stress the importance of understanding nature when he is the guest of honour at the grand opening of the Natural History Museum’s new Darwin Centre.
In what will be Prince William’s first official opening at a museum, he will view the work carried out by scientists striving to understand and protect the planet and meet young patients from The Royal Marsden Hospital learning about biodiversity and the natural environment. The visit will reflect Prince William’s interest in climate change and the preservation of the natural world.
The new Darwin Centre is a state-of-the-art scientific research and collections storage facility, and an
awe-inspiring new public space inviting visitors to explore the natural world in an exciting and innovative way. Prince William will be one of the first to see some of the Museum’s scientists in action, working in high-tech laboratories, preparing real specimens and working among the 3.3 kilometres of cabinets that hold the millions of plants and insects. From Tuesday 15 September, the visiting public will have an uninhibited snapshot into these once concealed spaces at the Museum as they travel through the new Cocoon experience and share the excitement of exploring, studying and preserving the world around us.
Prince William will be joined in the opening celebrations by Sir David Attenborough. In a tribute to excellence in science communication, the Darwin Centre’s high-tech Attenborough Studio will showcase natural history film footage, new media and face-to-face encounters with Museum scientists. The day of celebrations will include other guest speakers, such as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, The Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP.
Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, comments, ‘With so many issues facing the planet at this time, we are thrilled Prince William will join Sir David in helping us celebrate the opening of the Darwin Centre. We hope that Prince William will be the first of many visitors who will leave with a real sense of awe and wonder at nature, a better understanding of why the work of the Natural History Museum is so relevant – now more than ever – and be inspired to share in our collective responsibility over the future of the planet.’
If you want to keep up to date with Darwin Centre developments ahead of the opening on 15 September, and to find out what’s on at the Museum, sign up now to our monthly enewsletter at www.nhm.ac.uk/enews
Darwin Centre visitor information
Dates: open from 15 September 2009
Opening times: every day, 10.00–17.50 (last admission to Cocoon 17.00)
Admission: free, to book timed tickets for Cocoon call 020 7942 5725
Nearest tube: South Kensington
For more information and images, or if you would like to register your interest in the Darwin Centre media preview event on Tuesday 8 September, please contact the Natural History Museum Press Office:
Tel 020 7942 5654 email firstname.lastname@example.org (not for publication)
For more information about the Royal Rota on 14 September, please contact St James’s Palace press office:
Tel 020 7024 5728 email email@example.com (not for publication)