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12 Posts tagged with the conservation tag

There's something about these two very different beasts: The enigmatic elephant with its swaying trunk and flapping ears atop those giant lumbering legs. And the endangered gharial with its cracked skin, eyes popping as it floats in the murky waters with its brood. Both fitting subjects, captured beautifully in unique portraits by this year's two grand title winning Wildlife Photographers of the Year. These images will take pride of place in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition opening here at the Museum this Friday, 18 October.



Essence of elephants portraying a herd gathered at a waterhole in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve, has made Greg du Toit the 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year. To depict these gentle giants in this ghostly way, Greg used a slow shutter speed and wide-angle lens tilted up.


The two coveted prizes for the 2013 competition were awarded to Greg du Toit and 14-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar earlier this evening, 15 October, at the glittering awards ceremony held here at the Natural History Museum. The two winning images swayed the judges and beat nearly 43,000 other entries from 96 countries.



Mother's little headful snapped by 14-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar depicts a mother gharial crocodilian crowned by her babies in the waters of India's threatened Chambal River. Competition judge Tui De Roy described the image as wonderfully playful and thought-provoking and the deserving 2013 Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.


Both winning photographers are pictured below. They were among several other photographers and competition judges who gathered last night in readiness for the awards ceremony where the winners were announced.


Greg-Du Toit-self-portrait.jpgUdayan-Rao Pawar-self-portrait.jpg

On location: Greg du Toit and Udayan Rao Pawar - this year's grand title winners.


'It was amazing and almost emotional to see young Udayan meet his hero, acclaimed wildlife photographer and competition judge Steve Winter,' says Gemma Ward, competition manager.


'I'm staggered by the standard of photography from the youngsters and how seriously they take their interest and how much nature and the camera means to them.


'And I'm also really impressed by the winner of the Eric Hosking Portfolio Award this year. This award highlights a sequence of images from a budding photographer between the ages of 18 and 26 years. It's an exceptionally strong portfolio of pictures and subjects from Canada's Connor Stefanison, with each one a stand-out.'


Enjoy all 100 prize-winning photographs from the 18 award categories in the 2013 competition and find out more about the stories and people behind them in the 2013 gallery.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Book tickets for the exhibition opening on 18 October


Rain or shine, it's half-term time

Posted by Rose May 25, 2013

As ever, there are heaps of things to do at the Museum over the half-term holidays and you don't even have to come inside the building to enjoy all of them. Just step into the outdoor Sensational Butterflies house and meet 100s of live ones (and it's warm in there), enjoy a coffee or ice cream by the lawn's cafe kiosk, or take a stroll in the lovely Wildlife Garden and its bustling ponds to meet London wildlife among the daisies and buttercups.



Left: An awesome Atlas moth in the butterflies exhibition, snapped by our butterfly house manager. Why not take your own butterfly pics inside the exhibition or at home and enter our Pinterest competition?


On Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 2 June, the Wildlife Garden is the focus of our free Bat Festival weekend, which also spreads its wings into the Museum's Darwin Centre for extra displays and talks, so make some plans if you're a batty friend.



Tadpoles, yellow rattle, buttercups and the thriving bee tree in our spring-filled Widlife Garden, which also hosts the Bat Festival on the weekend of 1 to 2 June. Below, batty action at last year's festival.




Inside the Museum, there are over 30 wonderful galleries to explore and the chance to book in advance for the ever-popular Dinosaurs, as well as puppet shows, hands-on activities and investigative fun. Browse our What's on for kids section to get the best recommendations.



Left: Fossil corals display in Dinosaur Way. Right: The roaring jaws of the sabre-tooth cat in the Extinction exhibition - look out for our 2for1 ticket vouchers for Extinction in the Museum.


For more grown-up stimulation, there's a choice of two major ticketed exhibitions, Sebastaio Salgado's Genesis and Extinction. Or you could drop in to one or more of the many free talks in our Attenborough Studio scheduled through the week. Starting Sunday 26 and ending on Wednesday 29 May, the talks include live-links to the Isles of Scilly where the Field work with Nature Live team are accompanying Museum scientists performing their research. The Treasures Cadogan Gallery is also a must for anyone who wants to get to the heart of the Museum in one gallery.


Volunteers week, 1 to 7 June, coincides with the half-term holiday break and you can get a look at some of the Indonesian fossil corals volunteers helped to prepare for research in a new display cabinet in Dinosaur Way. Or take the lift up to the Specimen Preparation Area in the Cocoon on 30 May to see our new volunteers actually at work.


Keep up to date with our What's on and What's on for kids pages.

Find out more about volunteering at the Museum

Read the Wildlife Garden blog


Great auk, great loss

Posted by Rose May 15, 2013

May is the month for remembering the greatness of the great auk and why its tale of extinction is one we should not forget. The flightless great auk, Pinguinus impennis, is one of the most powerful symbols of the damage humans can cause. The species was driven extinct in the 19th century as a consequence of centuries of intense human exploitation.


At a free talk here tomorrow afternoon, Museum scientist Robert Prys-Jones will explore the Life and Death of the Great Auk, with particular reference to the Museum's own iconic Papa Westray great auk specimen.


This celebrated Museum specimen, shown below left, is the only British example of this bird in existence. It was collected 200 years ago in May 1813 from the tiny island of Papa Westray, one of the outer Orkney Islands. The great auk talk is being webcast live for those of you who can't make it here to the Museum's Attenborough Studio.



Left: The Museum's rare Papa Westray great auk.
Right: Specially commissioned great auk taxidermy model on show in our Extinction exhibition.


I spoke to our bird curator Jo Cooper before she set out for the great auk bicentenary festival being held in the Orkney Islands this weekend, 17-19 May. She explained a bit about the history of our treasured great auk specimen and the importance of the festival.


'I’m making a pilgrimage to the tiny island of Papa Westray where one of the Museum’s most iconic specimens was collected 200 years ago this month. The Papa Westray Great Auk was one of the last of its kind in Britain, and is the only known surviving British example of this bird which went globally extinct in the mid-1840s.


'The Papa Westray specimen was purchased by the British Museum in 1819, after its original owner, William Bullock, sold up his entire vast collection of natural history specimens and other curios in a sale lasting 26 days.'



Fowl Craig on the island of Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands, home of the last British great auks. A pilrimage to this spot takes place during the great auk festival this weekend.

'Sadly, our rare specimen is now too fragile to travel safely, so the Museum and Site-Eye Time-Lapse Films have produced a 3D ‘virtual’ Papa Westray Great Auk so that people can still have an encounter with this historic specimen. The virtual auk will be premiered on the island that the original specimen came from, but we have plans to show it more widely later in the year.


'We hope that by helping tell the story of the Papa Westray Great Auk during this festival, people will have a greater understanding and appreciation of what has been lost forever from our British bird community and perhaps this will inspire a greater care of what we have.'



You can discover more about the great auk's plight in our Extinction exhibition here at the Museum and get close to a specially-commissioned taxidermy model of a great auk diving. Or go on a Museum trail and find another great auk specimen on display (left) in our Treasures Cadogan Gallery.


Follow The Life and Death of the Great Auk webcast live


Visit the Extinction: Not the End of the World? exhibition


Discover more about the great auk on our website


Read about the Papa Westray great auk in our Treasures book


It's just one week to go until our Extinction exhibition opens. As I write, installers and designers are frantically putting the finishing touches to the displays, visuals and lighting in time for its unveiling to the public on 8 February.


The exhibition's tiger display - in the process of being installed - is sure to be one of the main attractions in our Extinction: Not the End of the World? exhibition opening in the Museum's Jerwood Gallery on Friday 8 February.


It's full steam ahead,' says Alex Fairhead, the exhibition's developer, who is very excited about the new slant this show will put on the subject of extinction.


Alex explains:

'Usually people only ever think of dinosaurs and dodos when they talk about extinction. In Extinction: Not the End of the World? visitors will discover the positive side to extinction and that the animals and plants we see today would not have survived if others had not first become extinct. There will also be opportunities to discuss modern conservation, see the conservation successes and failures, and consider whether we're now on the verge of the next mass extinction.’



Just why did the dodo die out, but not the leatherback turtle? This and many crucial life-and-death conundrums will be explored in our Extinction exhibition. This new dodo reconstruction has been made especially for the exhibition based on current scientific research.


'Understanding extinction underpins all of the scientific work of the curators and researchers at the Natural History Museum and is crucial to discovering more about the evolution of animals and the natural world.' said Alex.


Rustic wood reclaimed from a 150-year-old cotton mill is the fitting theme of the exhibition's design.


And it's not just the array of creatures featuring in the great story of extinction and survival that is impressive, but the design of the show itself. The design of the exhibition has taken the subject matter of the exhibition to heart:

'As you can see,' describes Alex, 'the rustic recycled-wood furniture that has recently been installed, looks fantastic. Minimising our use of natural resources was key to the exhibition’s design. The reclaimed wood was originally used for the flooring in a 150-year old cotton mill in Lancashire. If you look closely you can still see where the joists were.'


From the gigantic skull of Chasmosaurus belli - one of the last land-dwelling dinosaurs to become extinct - that greets you at the gallery entrance, the new scientifically-accurate dodo, the awesome tiger, giant elk antlers, to the cool interactive 3-console Extinction game and more, this is an exhibition not to be missed by those who care about the natural world.


Find out about the Extinction exhibition and book tickets online


Glimpse some of the featured species in our Exhibition image gallery


Our Blue Zone's Images of Nature gallery welcomed a new temporary Australian-themed exhibition yesterday, showcasing the Museum's impressive 18th-century First Fleet collection of watercolours and drawings.



‘Mr White, Harris and Laing with a party of Soldiers visiting Botany Bay Colebee at that place, when wounded’, Port Jackson Painter/Watling collection. Watercolour, c1790–1797.


The British First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson (now Sydney) in January 1788, when 11 ships carrying about 1,400 people landed to establish the first penal colony. Among the sailors and convicts on board were draughtsmen, artists and forgers. They painted and drew the new landscape, its wildlife, and the Eora Nation clans who inhabited the area. Despite their lack of scientific accuracy, the images in the First Fleet collection are some of the most important in the Museum, providing a snapshot of a key moment in Australia's history. They are beautiful, telling images that provide rare natural history and ethnographic records.




Left: Waratah, Telopea speciosissima. Port Jackson Painter/Watling collection, watercolour, c1788–1797. The waratah is New South Wales' official floral emblem. Right: Southern cassowary, Casuarius casuarius. George Raper, watercolour and ink, 1792. This cassowary lives in the rainforest of northern Queensland.


In the first rotation of 32 First Fleet artworks on display now, you'll find gems like the cassowary and the well-known Waratah (above), official floral emblem of New South Wales, along with stranger-looking species like the Large pretty pink-winged stick insect below. There are also striking portraits of local tradesmen in the collection - often with dramatic stories to tell. The next selection of First Fleet artworks will be installed in the gallery in April.


The 600-strong First Fleet collection came into the Museum as three smaller ones known as the Raper, Watling and Port Jackson Painter collections after the artists whose work they contain. The drawings attributed to the Port Jackson Painter are thought to be the work of several unidentified artists.




Above. Large pink-winged stick insect, Podacanthus typhoon. Thomas Watling, watercolour and ink, c1792–1797. There are almost 150 species of stick insect in Australia.


The perspective of the Aboriginal Australian people who had been invaded, however, was not recorded in the First Fleet works. So our temporary exhibition features two newly-commissioned installations by Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd whose provocative work comments on that ommission.


At the end of last year Daniel spent several months as an artist-in-residence here at the Museum researching and creating the pieces that are on show in the gallery now. He was putting the finishing touches to his installations last week.



Above: Australian Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd unveils his Up in Smoke Tour installation in the Images of Nature gallery. Watercolours, 24 Museum archival boxes. Right, installation detail.


Daniel's work comments on the loss of native cultures recorded in the First Fleet collection, particularly on the British perception of Port Jackson at the time and the Aboriginal Australian people. It's the way these historic images obscure the original indigenous identity that interests the artist. His work in the gallery has also been inspired by the Museum's anthropological collection and he features Museum specimen boxes in his installations.



An earlier work by Daniel Boyd. We Call Them Pirates Out Here, 2006, oil on canvas. The work is kept in Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art collection.


Daniel joins today's free Nature Live talk about The Art of the First Fleet (7 February) in the Attenborough Studio. And so too does the Museum's special collections librarian Lisa Di Tommaso, whose book explores The Art of the First Fleet. So pop along to the Darwin Centre's Attenborough Studio at 14.30 to hear and see more of these fascinating works first-hand.


Browse the Images of Nature gallery slideshow


Explore the First Fleet collection online


Watch artist Daniel Boyd on video discussing his new artwork and cultural background


It’s one week to go until the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition opens its doors to the public on Friday 22 October.


Today, as I write this post, the images are being installed in their new panel placements in the Museum’s iconic Waterhouse gallery.


This year the exhibition space has a more airy theme. Its 100 and more prize-winning images from the 2010 competition’s 18 categories are displayed in light panels. It’ll be interesting to see how this compares to last year’s dark, atmospheric ‘pavillion of shadows’ design.


Peschak's giant female Aldabra tortoise that features in the exhibition's publicity


At the entrance to the exhibition gallery, you’ll meet Thomas Peschak’s giant Aldabra tortoise that appears in the main poster for the exhibition. It looks magnificent in the huge banner, towering from on high to greet visitors.


Here's how Thomas describes his mighty tortoise shot:


"Aldabra giant tortoises normally graze on 'tortoise turf', a blend of herbs and grasses that grows close to the ground in response to being cropped. Often, though, the tortoises will wander onto the beaches to eat washed-up seedpods. This female, who is probably at least 100 years old, regularly forages along the beach in front of a research station on Aldabra in the Seychelles. Tortoises are known to have made sea crossings between islands," says Tom, "and so I was pleased to be able to use the ocean as a backdrop. I lay in her path on the sand, using an extreme wide-angle lens. The moment I took the shot, I had to roll out of her way to avoid her clambering right over me."


Watch this space for the overall winners’ announcement which should be after midnight on Wednesday 21 October.


It's also worth mentioning that you can enjoy the exhibition After Hours every last Friday of the month starting on 29 October, excluding December.


Amazonia... it's art

Posted by Rose Sep 30, 2010

Everyone's being asking me 'what is Amazonia?' So, rather belatedly, let me introduce you to the Museum's latest contemporary art exhibition which will be opening next week on Wednesday 6 October.


More than 100 tiny toy animals adorn the exhibition's centrepiece boat sculpture, Madre de Dios - Fluval Intervention Unit


The Amazonia exhibition was commissioned by the Museum in our International Year of Biodiversity from artists Lucy + Jorge Orta who are known for their art projects with an environmental focus. The artists travelled to the Peruvian rainforest in 2009, joining a scientific expedition, and this inspired their bright and beautiful exhibition here.


I had a quick peek in the Jerwood gallery this morning. The artists are here (their studio is in France) busily installing their sculptures, photographs and video projection and it looks fantastic already. From huge decorative porcelain eggs and big bright aluminium bones (below) to gorgeous flower photographs and the centrepiece of the Madre de Dios boat installation with its 100 or more tiny animals, it bustles with life - and death - in the natural world.



The large 2-screen video installation wasn't quite set up when I visited the gallery, so in the meantime, catch some extracts of the Amazonia video projection that we've just added to the website.


Bergit Arends, our Contemporary Arts Curator and organiser of the exhibition, tells me that this one is also special because it's the last to be staged in the Jerwood Gallery.


Catch Amazonia if you can, it's free and only here for a short while until 12 December. The Jerwood gallery is in Dinosaur Way just before you enter the Darwin Centre.


Watch out for more exhibition gallery highlights on the website next week.


It's only 3 days to go till our After Hours: Science Uncovered big night this Friday, 24 September, and the last operational plans are in frantic motion.


Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for scientists to bring out their star specimens and run through setting up the event's science stations in the Central Hall. The 9 Face to Face science stations are mostly located in the Museum's Central Hall bays. Each represents one of the Museum's main science departments and will showcase specimens from our collections and their research.


Left: This complete skull of the female Yangtze River dolphin (also known as Baiji), was collected from Tung Ting Lake in 1922. It is on show at Science Uncovered and measures 54cm long and has 36 pairs of teeth in its upper and lower jaws.
Right: A live Chinese River dolphin rescued from the Yangtze River in 1980. She died in 2002. AFP/Getty Images


At the science stations you'll find some truly precious and extraordinary specimens to explore and discuss face to face with our experts. Many have never been on public display before. It's vital that they are handled securely and the timings of the rota of exhibits runs to schedule. During the evening from 16.00 onwards, different scientists with their different chosen specimens will alternate on shift


Of special interest will be the complete skull of the now-extinct Yangtze River dolphin (above) on display at the Zoology Station, courtesy of our renowned mammals curator Richard Sabin. This rare female skull came into the Museum's collection in 1922. There are only a few specimens of this extinct species in museums worldwide, so preserving it is crucial. This is what Richard has to say about the Yangtze River dolphin skull:


'The reason I am showcasing this specimen is to highlight how the nature of museum collections and specimens can change, and how they reflect what is taking place in the world. The extinction of a large marine mammal is not only a sad loss to biodiversity, it is also a shock that you cannot adequately prepare yourself for. As curator of marine mammals, I am at a loss to express how I feel about never being able to see this species in the wild. The specimen will be used to investigate the genetic make-up of the species, which will hopefully provide data that can be used to help conserve other closely-related cetacean species.'



Other Zoology Station treats include a skull of a lion kept at the Tower of London more than 500 years ago. The lions were part of the Royal Menagerie, or zoo. And Richard is also going to show some of the Museum's mummified cats (right)... I did say there would be beauties and beasts, didn't I? Our Head of zoology collections Clare Valentine will also be featuring some unusual sponges (below).



Insect lovers should head off to the Past and Present Insects Station in Fossil Way for the chance to meet live creatures like the rather pretty Therea petiveriana, Domino Cockroach (pictured left), which our entomologist Ed Baker will be bringing along. These cockroaches are often kept as pets. Ed is joined by palaeontologist David Nicholson who will also present some 100-million-year-old insect fossil specimens.


Meteorite fans should check out the Mineralogy Station in the Central Hall. We'll have a piece of the very rare Allende carbonaceous chrondrite meteorite (below) that fell as a huge fireball in Mexico in 1969. The Museum has about 5,000 meteorite samples, which hold secrets of the formation of the solar system.



We hear mutterings that Alan Hart, who is leading The Vault gallery tours, will be showing some excavated Devonshire gold at the Mineralogy Station.


sponge-800.jpgTomatoes and poisonous algae are just a few of the botanical delights at the Botany Station, including an actual old-fashioned plant press.


And there is the enigma of the giant beasts on the Dinosaurs and Whale Hall torchlit gallery tours, with the chance to learn about identifying worms at the Natural History Roadshow in Dinosaur Way.


Moving over to the Darwin Centre Forensics Station, you'll be able to glimpse the first maggots used as forensic evidence (below) to convict a criminal in a court of law. This formed part of the famous 1935 Ruxton murder case.


In short, 100s of star specimens and gallery treasures await you at Science Uncovered. This is your chance to witness them close up with the people who know them best.


After Hours: Science Uncovered is part of European Researchers' Night.


Read the latest news story about some of these rare specimens at Science Uncovered


Here are some links to related news stories about a few of these specimens that might also be of interest:


Did Egyptian mummification lead to the domestic cat? - news story

The Tower of London lion origins revealed - news story

Museum insect detectives join forensic team - news story


Click on the images to enlarge them.


elephant-mosaic-800-tall.jpgTwo magnificently decorated elephant sculptures appeared on our West lawn after the Bank Holiday weekend. You can't miss Seymour and Phoolan if you head towards our Wildlife Garden, facing the main Museum entrance.

Phoolan (right) created by Carrie von Reichardt and Nick Reynolds, is covered in 1000s of mosaic tiles, with gaps revealing bones damaged by human actions. Seymour, the white elephant below, was hand painted by artist Emma Elizabeth Kemp. They will be joined by a third elephant for International Day for Biological Diversity which we're celebrating on 22 May.


The three life-size baby elephants grace us with their colourful presence until the end of June..


Our hand-decorated elephants are part of The Elephant Parade in London, the Capital's big public art event led by the Elephant Family charity, to help raise awareness for endangered Asian elephants. This unique urban savannah will feature 250 baby elephants displayed across London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Parliament Square, the South Bank and our own Museum. Look out for them.


A host of celebrities and artists from the art and design world have been involved in painting and decorating the elephants. Well-known names include Marc Quinn, Diane Von Furstenberg, Lulu Guinness, Julien Macdonald, Issa, John Rocha, Jonathan Yeo, Jack Vettriano, Nina Campbell and Nicky Haslam.



In early July, the herd of elephants will get together for one big exhibition and then be auctioned for charity at Sotheby's.


Read about The Elephant Parade on our International Year of Biodiversity in the UK (IYB-UK) website.


Find out more about the endangered Asian elephant on our Species of the Day website.


Browse more elephant pictures on The Elephant Parade website.


The Elephant Family charity is a partner organisation of IYB-UK.



The year of the species

Posted by Rose Jan 8, 2010
Bee happy this year. Bombus distinguendus © D Goulson

Get fit. Give up cigarettes and alcohol. No chocolate. Move... Resolutions, resolutions. How about sparing a thought for a species every day?

To celebrate the fact that 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity we're bringing you news each day of a different species that our Museum scientists feel important to draw to your attention.

So 365 days, 365 species.


From the tiniest algae and bacteria to powerful plants and mighty whales, each species is written about by a Museum scientist. A different species' fact-file will be published on our website and announced on the homepage each day. Some will features video clips too.


On New Year's Day we launched our Species of the Day online. We paid homage to the much-loved great yellow bumblebee whose survival here is under threat because of habitat changes and the loss of deep flowers. You can find out more about great yellow bumblebees and their conservation on the Bombus distinguendus species fact-file.


Our bumblebee expert Paul Williams explains, ‘Species of the day is a great opportunity for people to find out aboutsea-urchin-490.jpg what we can do to help valuable species that are facing challenges from man-made environmental change’.


But it's not just endangered species that will be featured. Some scientists have chosen species which are part of their research or that have particularly interesting or unusual behaviour, or because of their value to science or economic impact.


Read the Species of the Day news story and have a look at what we have featured online already on Species of the Day. Today’s little wonder is the strong-muscled sea urchin, Eucidaris metularis (shown right). Did you know that sea urchins have been around for the last 150 million years?

Watch out, there are some really bizarre and quirky organisms coming your way.


Species of the Day is part of our involvement in the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity in the UK. It also highlights the work of the Museum’s many scientists who work here behind the scenes.


Bye-bye butterflies

Posted by Rose Sep 24, 2009


'We're on the move to Longleat'


This Sunday, 27 September, I will be very sad to see our beautiful butterflies start to flutter away from the Museum's front lawn as the Buttefly Jungle summer exhibition closes finally. It has been a great success this year many 1000s of visitors have enjoyed it. You've got three days left to get there! But if you miss it, you can always browse our website to remind yourselves of the beauty and variety of butterflies and drama of life in the jungle.


I popped in to the exhibition this week to say goodbye and to find out what will happen to the butterflies themselves and other creatures after the closure.


It looks like there will be about 800 to 900 live butterflies that need to be captured from the butterfly house. These will go to Longleat Safari Park. The safari park bought last year's butterfly house and have already claimed this year's collection. Pupae will go to The Magic of Life Butterfly House in Aberystwyth.



Charlie on his favourite branch


Charlie, our popular iguana who starred in our earlier Darwin exhibition, is going to a new home in a permanent reptile display in Dunstable, so Charlie fans make sure you say your goodbyes at the Museum before Sunday. And have you ever wondered if Charlie is actually glued to the branch he always seems to sit on in his island display? I discovered he does move from the bottom upwards during the day, following the light. But you have to spend the whole day watching to glimpse him in full action.


Sumo, the 18-year--old Argentine horned frog, croaks off to Stapeley Water Gardens in Crewe. Other jungle creatures will return to Amey Zoo (a small exotic pets zoo in Hertfordshire) where they were originally loaned from, and the stick insects re-unite with their owner and Museum insect expert, Simon Dickson. And some of the slow-growing plants will be wintered for future events.

Let's hope we have another butterfly exhibition next year and lots of this year's stars join us again.



Atmospheric wall projection on the Cocoon tour

Yesterday, Tuesday 8 September, was the big preview of the new Darwin Centre to the press and media. Throughout the day journalists and film crews were shown around the whole Darwin Centre and Cocoon experience for the first time. It was a busy day and we are already getting a fabulous response in the papers, magazines and on TV. Here's some of the brilliant coverage so far, following yesterday's media event:


BBC  One O’clock News

BBC News online Day in pictures

Daily  Mail Online

Daily  Mirror

Daily  Telegraph

Guardian Online

Times  Online

New  Scientist online


Among the press and media favourites were the cocoon itself – the breathtaking building really is the star of the show – and on the Cocoon tour, both the planning an expedition and the mosquito challenge interactive games attracted lots of attention.


Press visitors had the added bonus of getting a free NaturePlus card that uses barcode technology to save exhibit highlights to enjoy online and enjoyed the unique chance to come face-to-face with scientists at work preparing specimens and ask them questions. Down on the centre’s ground floor, the spectacular interactive Climate Change Wall added another wow factor. The wall's images and films featured a lot in last night’s ITV 10 o’clock news special on the Darwin Centre.

Take a look at the new and updated wide-look Visiting the Darwin Centre website for a sense of what the fuss is all about. It features some of the latest photos taken by our Museum photographers at our special preview events and reveals much more about the centre's main attractions for visitors. I’ve worked day and night recently (in fact the security staff had to throw me out over the weekend!) to get these web pages ready in time for yesterday’s media launch.

There’ll be more online updates to come, so keep re-visiting the Darwin Centre website. Next stop, Monday 14 September when Prince William and Sir  David Attenborough arrive for the VIP launch, the day before public opening on 15 September…