Museum of Life

Steve Parker

Foreword by Mark Carwardine

Museum of Life accompanies the major six-part BBC TV series of the same name. It goes behind the scenes at the Museum to reveal how our unrivalled collections and pioneering research help to define the world we live in.

978 0 565 09260 3
March 2010
253 x 216 mm
192 pp
Colour throughout
Natural History Museum


How can the growth of insects help to solve crimes? What did the world look like in the time of the dinosaurs? How do shark experts help Olympic athletes swim faster? Published to accompany the major six-part BBC TV series, Museum of Life offers a unique insight into the innovative, dramatic and often surprising work of this world renowned institution. 

Many aspects of Museum life are investigated as vaults are opened, world-leading scientists observed and the public spaces explored. The book also reveals how the Museum maintains, studies and adds to the ever-growing collections, and why they are such a valuable resource.

The book follows Museum scientists in the laboratory and out into the field to find out how they are trying to conserve and catalogue the natural world, and help solve global problems in agriculture, medical and forensic science. 

Join botanists in the hunt for the original British bluebell in Spain, discover how Museum experts are tackling disease in Uganda, find out how to spring clean a 100-year-old, 26 metre-long dinosaur model, and get a glimpse of many of the Museum’s amazing treasures along the way.

See inside

Look inside this book to get an idea of its content.

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The presenters of the BBC TV series Museum of Life

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Steve Parker is an author, editor and consultant specialising in the natural world, biology, technology and general sciences. He has written more than 250 books and has worked on the staff at the Natural History Museum. Steve is a Senior Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London. 

Zoologist Mark Carwardine has written the foreword to the book. He is an award-winning writer, photographer and radio presenter. He recently co-presented the major BBC Two TV series Last Chance to See with Stephen Fry and is one of the co-presenters of Museum of Life.


Find out what others think of this book.

"Museum of Life ventures into the secret heart of the museum to shed light on the pioneering role it plays in conserving biodiversity and advancing our understanding of nature's wonders. The institute's collections are awe-inspiring, so perhaps it is no surprise that this book is packed with stunning photographs. The images are accompanied by engaging, bite-sized stories that put the various artefacts in context...this book is an inspirational and educational tool."

BBC Wildlife Magazine

"This book was published to support the television series but I found the book far more revealing with its fascinating facts and beautiful photographs and drawings...It makes us totally alter our perception of this wonderful museum and really is a book to treasure."

Yorkshire Gazette and Herald

About the BBC TV series

In spring 2010 the Museum will be the subject of a major new BBC TV series, Museum of Life. This landmark television series will provide viewers with unprecedented access to all aspects of museum life, with a focus on its
pioneering research worldwide and the 70 million specimens that it looks after.

The presenters of the series include:

  • Jimmy Doherty
  • Liz Bonnin
  • Mark Carwardine
  • Chris Van Tullekin
  • Kate Bellingham

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Museum of Life DVD

Buy Museum of Life DVD online

Go behind the scenes at the Museum for a fascinating story of mysteries, dinosaurs, diamonds and scientific discoveries.

The 2-disc DVD includes all 6 episodes of the recent BBC documentary.

Buy the DVD online