A mummified cat

© Trustees of the Natural History Museum

Read later


During Beta testing articles may only be saved for seven days.

The Natural History Museum at Tring unwraps a new exhibition Animal Mummies: What's Inside

This spring visitors to The Natural History Museum at Tring will be able to visit a new free temporary exhibition and discover what lies inside animal mummies from ancient Egypt.

  • Gaze at a sealed 2,400-year-old wooden cat coffin.
  • Discover why an unwrapped mummified crocodile with stones in its abdomen is so unusual.
  • Discover a handprint on a terracotta jar that contained a mummified bird of prey.

We are all familiar with the human mummies that have skulked around in film and TV for decades but the ancient Egyptians also preserved a wide variety of animals in the same way. From cats to crocodiles these animals were preserved and given as gifts to the gods.

Within the new exhibition you will be able to examine animal mummies and see how modern technology allows Museum scientists to study them. Through scans and X-rays watch as untold stories of these revered creatures are revealed and even try out an interactive scanning machine for yourself.

The exhibition includes specimens from the Tring’s own collection as well as some items on loan from Manchester Museum. Among the gems of the collection are a terracotta jar that was used to preserve a bird of prey which displays the handprint of the preserver and an unwrapped mummified crocodile!

Animal Mummies: What's Inside is a free exhibition open at The Natural history Museum at Tring from 14 March – 18 October 2020.


Notes to editors

The Natural History Museum at Tring

The Natural History Museum at Tring in Hertfordshire opened in the late 1800s to house the collections of Lionel Walter, second Lord Rothschild, and offers some outstanding examples of nineteenth-century taxidermy. The Museum was bequeathed to the nation and became part of the Natural History Museum in 1938. The public galleries were modernised but the fascinating character of the Museum has been retained.

Around 140,000 visitors a year enjoy a glimpse into the fascinating world of a Victorian collector, where they can see a huge variety of wild, weird and wonderful specimens from across the animal kingdom – from armadillos to zebras.

The site at Tring also houses the stunning Rothschild Library and the Natural History Museum’s ornithological collection, which has been cased there since the early 1970s. Access to the Rothschild Library and ornithological collection is limited and by appointment only.

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.

The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year, our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.