One night only: Natural History Museum to throw open its doors for biggest-ever after hours event

Press release - 01 October 2010

Unprecedented opportunity for the public to meet leading researchers and view rare, never-before displayed specimens

On Friday 24 September, the Natural History Museum will throw open its doors for its biggest-ever after hours event, After Hours: Science Uncovered. The event gives visitors a unique chance to meet world-class researchers and explore some of the Museum’s scientific treasures up close.

Items on show will include the Tower of London Barbary lion skulls, the first maggot used as forensic evidence to convict a criminal in a court of law and the skull of a Chinese river dolphin, declared extinct in 2007, which has never been brought out in public before.

Part of European Researchers’ Night, the free evening will give curious visitors unprecedented face-to-face access to some of the 300 scientists who work behind-the-scenes at the Natural History Museum, helping to tackle global problems such as disease, climate change and threats to biodiversity. Visitors are also being invited to bring their mystery natural history finds along to be identified, take part in live interactive demonstrations, find out about the work of top researchers at science stations and unwind with a cocktail in the Science Bar while discussing some of the hot topics of the day with experts.

Members of the public will also be able to recall fond childhood Museum encounters on exclusive tours specially arranged for the twilight extravaganza, including the science labs and Dinosaurs gallery by torchlight (NB tours have limited availability).

Sharon Ament, Director of Public Engagement said; “Even if visitors don’t think they have a passion for science and the natural world we hope that they will be surprised, challenged and inspired by After Hours: Science Uncovered. For many visitors one of the Natural History Museums’ greatest and often most surprising resources is its scientists, working behind the scenes to tackle issues of huge importance. There is nothing quite like talking to a world expert face-to-face and this event will allow people to discover what goes on behind-the-scenes at this world-leading centre of research, learn more about the life of a researcher and find out something new and exciting about the natural world.”

After Hours: Science Uncovered is part of European Researchers’ Night and is the first time that London has taken part in the Europe-wide festival of science. Across Europe more than 200 cities will hold similar events showing how exciting and vital research is to our lives. Admission to the event is free and it runs from 16.00–22.00

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Notes for editors

  • Winner of Visit London’s 2009 Best London for Free Experience Award, the Natural History Museum is also a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with groundbreaking projects in more than 68 countries.