Today, 16 April, we celebrated the 350th anniversary of the birth of Sir Hans Sloane, and the start of our Sloane 350 season.
You can find out all about this great 18th century naturalist and physician, who brought chocolate to the UK, on our Sloane 350 website.
Sir Hans Sloane collected over 400,000 objects in his long lifetime including plants, animals, manuscripts and all manner of antiquities. We have many of his specimens in the Museum and he is effectively the founding father of this Museum.
When Sloane first tasted the chocolate drink in Jamaica, where he worked as a young physician early in his career, he described it as 'nauseous'. But the story goes that after trying it mixed with milk, and not water as it was drunk by the Jamaicans then, he found it much more appealing and 'healthy'. He brought his recipe back to London and later, Cadbury's started making chocolate (pictured below) as we know it from his original recipe. The rest is history.
One of our celebrity specimens in the Museum is the cocoa Sir Hans Sloane actually collected.
You can explore some of Sloane's amazing collections on the Sloane Herbarium tours. Have a look at our Sloane 350 events web page for details.
Today we also featured one of the most beautiful moths in the world, Urania sloanus, as our Species of the Day.This gorgeous Jamaican creature (right), now extinct sadly, was named in honour of Sir Hans Sloane. He was probably responsible for the first illustration of the moth. Find out more on our Urania sloanus Species of the Day page.
And we ate some fair trade chocolate in the office to celebrate...