The Darwin Centre houses millions of insect and plant specimens.
Of the 70 million specimens in the Natural History Museum, 17 million insect and 3 million plant specimens are looked after in the Darwin Centre and its cocoon building. They are vital to our research in areas like fighting malaria and climate change.
Hundreds of science staff and science visitors from around the world use the cocoon facilities and collections for research and analysis. From fieldwork to laboratory work in the Darwin Centre workspaces, our scientists push forward the boundaries of knowledge and scientific progress.
A scientist prepares specimens
On the Cocoon journey, visitors encounter scientists at work in open-plan workspaces using high-tech equipment. Learn how they name new species and prepare specimens used in research.
The Liquid-handling Robotic Instrument assists DNA experimentation
The Darwin Centre expands the Museum’s role as a world leader in science research and communication.
As many as 90% of the world’s species are yet to be named and classified. Naming, identifying and investigating the relationships of organisms are key to our understanding of the natural world and a major area of our scientists' research.
Find out more about our scientific research
Download the Science review 2009 PDF (2.0 MB)
In the state-of-the-art Darwin Centre there are many exciting learning activities and events for schools. Both schools and the public have the chance to interact with real scientists working on specimens and researching data.
Find out about our science learning activities