New exhibition Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature to open this spring
A new exhibition and BBC One documentary have been announced, in collaboration with Warner Bros. and BBC Studios Natural History Unit.
In the Museum's Waterhouse Gallery, viewers will encounter legendary beasts next to specimens and historic objects from the Museum's world-leading scientific collection.
Spellbinding digital installations and iconic wizarding world elements from the Fantastic Beasts film series will add an extra touch of magic to the exhibition.
Visitors will see animals including a tiger and a Galápagos marine iguana alongside wizarding world specimens such as an Erumpent horn and the dragon skull from Professor Lupin's classroom.
They will learn about the character of Magizoologist Newt Scamander™, who made his first appearance in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Like the Museum's own scientists, Newt dedicates his life to better understanding and protecting wildlife and the environments they rely on.
Clare Matterson CBE, Executive Director of Engagement at the Museum, says, 'Bringing characters from the wizarding world together with some of the most fantastic creatures from the natural world will produce a captivating experience that will show how the natural world has inspired legends and stories that have enthralled generations.
'A spectacular celebration of science and nature packed full of surprises and mesmeric experiences, it will be impossible to leave without wanting to learn more about the wonders of our planet and how we can all better protect it.'
After being introduced to the mythical creatures and some of the real animals which may have inspired their tales, visitors will familiarise themselves with the tools and techniques used by both Newt and real-world scientists before discovering fantastic beasts for themselves.
Visitors will be able to compare the camouflage tactics of a jaguar to that of the wizarding world's Demiguise, and the mating rituals of the peacock spider to the wizarding world's Erumpent. They will also come face to face with a giant oarfish, the world's longest bony fish. This monster of the oceans is thought to be the inspiration for mythical sea serpents around the world.
Visitors will discover that, like many of the fantastic beasts, real-world animals need our help. Taking inspiration from the stories of dedicated conservationists and scientists, and inspired by Newt's commitment to the beasts in the wizarding world, visitors will leave with a clear understanding of why it is more important than ever to care for and protect the rich biodiversity of our planet.
A magical new commission
BBC One will also produce a special, one-off documentary presented by Stephen Fry. It will explore the origins and stories of mythical creatures and fantastical beasts, and their history and connections with animals roaming the planet today.
With a working title Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History, it will take viewers on a journey from the hidden corridors of the Museum to the frozen steppes of Siberia and secret caves of Madagascar.
Offering exclusive access behind the scenes at both the Natural History Museum and Warner Bros. Studios, the documentary will dive deep into the secrets, wonders and surprising truths behind a host of fantastic beasts, both real and imagined.
Footage from the BBC Natural History Unit’s extensive treasure trove of archive content, alongside scenes from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, will show how closely real-world animals, mythological creatures and Wizarding World beasts are intertwined.
Stephen Fry says, ‘I could not be more delighted to be a part of this magnificent opportunity for us Muggles to show the wizarding world that the fantastic beasts in our world are more than a match for theirs. Joining forces with the combined powers of the fabulous BBC, its legendary Natural History Unit and the magical Natural History Museum we hope to be able to bring you closer than you’ve ever been to some of the most spectacular and extraordinary creatures ever seen.’
The exhibition is open from 22 May 2020 to 3 January 2021 after which it will embark on an international tour.
The first release of tickets will go on general sale at 10.00 GMT Thursday 16 January. Sign up to receive ticket alerts here.
New and existing members of the Natural History Museum will have guaranteed, free entry throughout the exhibition. More details to be announced.
Be among the first to see the exhibition and enjoy unlimited, free entry. Get access to a fantastic programme of special events including Member-only viewing hours. Relax in the private Members' room and receive discounts in our cafes and shops.
Membership starts from only £62.
- Follow the latest announcements on when Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History will air.
- Bloomsbury and Pottermore Publishing will release behind-the-scenes companion volumes to the exhibition. Further details to be announced.
- Creative partner Framestore will be bringing the beasts to life for this exhibition. The multi BAFTA and Oscar-winning creative studio is internationally renowned for its work on iconic animated characters across film, television, advertising and immersive virtual reality experiences.
- The Museum will also partner with Google Arts & Culture to create immersive digital content, allowing global audiences to experience some of the wonder of the exhibition wherever they are in the world.