Hundreds of drawers in a Museum collection space

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Hidden Treasures: Season one of our behind-the-scenes live streams

The Museum is home to 80 million objects, but only a tiny fraction of them ever goes on display.

If you've ever wanted to wander through our vast collections, now is your chance.

Take a trip behind-the-scenes into the collections to discover some of the many specimens you don't usually get to see on a trip to the Museum. 

Episode 1

The dinosaur collection, with Professor Paul Barrett

Streamed 1 July 2022

Join host Conor and palaeontologist Professor Paul Barrett on a trip down to the basement for a look around the Museum’s dinosaur collection

In this episode you get an up-close look at dinosaur specimens that are usually kept behind the scenes, including a giant sauropod leg bone, Edmontosaurus skin, a pocket-sized Hypsilophodon and an exclusive peek at Sophie the Stegosaurus's skull.

Discover more about how palaeontologists find dinosaurs

Episode 2

The fish collection, with James Maclaine

Streamed 5 August 2022

Join host Conor and senior curator James Maclaine for a behind the scenes peek at the fishes stored in the Museum's Tank Room. 

Enjoy a closer look at the spirit collection, including deep sea anglerfishes and their parasitic partners, a giant sea bass and two whole great white sharks, and get your fill of fun facts, from tiny fish brains to how you squeeze an enormous oarfish into a specimen jar. 

Explore the spirit collection on your next visit to the Museum. 

Episode 3

The mammal collection, with Dr Natalie Cooper

Streamed 2 September 2022

In this episode, we head into the spirit collection with Dr Natalie Cooper for a look at some of the mammal specimens kept behind the scenes at the Museum.

Get an up-close look at the eyeball of a blue whale, meet the smallest mammal in the world and discover what a puggle is.

Can you guess the identity of our mystery mammal specimen by the end of the video?

Episode 4

The plant collection, with John Hunnex

Streamed 7 October 2022

For episode four of Hidden Treasures, join host Conor and curator John Hunnex for a trip through the British and Irish Herbarium, which is one of the most comprehensive collections of plants from anywhere in the world.  

Take an exclusive peek at some of the oldest specimens in the collection, discover how important scientific stories can surround even the most unassuming of specimens, and find out why some scientists are puzzled by dandelions.  

Episode 5

The fly collection, with Dr Erica McAlister

Streamed 4 November 2022

What is the biggest fly in the world? Can flies be venomous? Do all flies have wings? Dr Erica McAlister, Senior Curator of Diptera, has the answers.  

For episode five of Hidden Treasures, we headed into the Museum's vast insect collection for an exclusive peek at some of the 2.5 to 4 million flies stored behind the scenes.  

From one of the rarest animals in the world to marvellous mimicry and bovine botflies, these insects may be more fascinating than you ever realised.  

Episode 6

Museum specimens battle it out!

Streamed 2 December 2022

The Natural History Museum is home to more than 80 million objects, but only a few ever go on public display. 

Which one is our ultimate hidden treasure? Scientists Prof Paul Barrett, James Maclaine, Dr Natalie Cooper, John Hunnex and Dr Erica McAlister searched through the collections they work with and care for to bring you some of the most intriguing specimens and stories from behind the scenes at the Museum. 

Quizzed by host Conor O'Keeffe, find out why the scientists picked their specimen and what they think makes it a worthy winner!

Do you think the right specimen was crowned as the champion? Which would you have chosen as the ultimate hidden treasure?
Leave a comment on YouTube to let us know what you would have picked - dinosaurs, fish, mammals, plants or flies!

Looking for more Hidden Treasures?

Catch-up on our lastest episodes in Hidden Treasures: season two.