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Blue Whale: Summer 2017

'The natural world is changing fast and so are we. It's in our grasp to shape a sustainable future - but our decisions have to be informed by understanding our past and present. The blue whale is a perfect symbol of this story of hope.'

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum

Hintze Hall, reopens summer 2017

Next year showcases a major part of the Museum's transformation into a Natural History Museum for the future. Plunging through the heart of Hintze Hall, a gigantic blue whale skeleton will lead a cast of natural world stars, telling the dramatic story of evolution, diversity in the world today and our urgent role in the planet's future. 

The blue whale is the largest-known animal to have ever lived on earth. Driven to the brink of extinction by hunting, it was the first species that humans, as a species, took a decision to save. It tells a story of hope.

This real 25.2 metre female skeleton will take centre stage among hundreds of new specimens across three floors, including ten other star specimens - one in each of the ground floor alcoves. 

The rest of the Museum remains open to enjoy while Hintze Hall closes from 5 January 2017. Conservators, scientists, designers and engineers will work on the ambitious reimagining of this iconic national space to unveil in the summer.

Whales: Beneath the surface, 14 July to 28 February 2018

As a whale becomes the must-see display of the Museum, dive deeper into the mysterious world of this group of mammals in a new summer family exhibition. Explore the remarkable bodies of the largest creatures to have lived on earth, and how they are much more similar to us than you may think. 

Prepare to be wowed as some of nature's finest whale specimens leap above you to tell one of the most compelling evolutionary tales of our natural world.  

From huge complete skeletons, to the flippers, skulls and jawbones that scientists study to reveal feeding habits, breathing techniques and sense of hearing and sight, Whales will take you close up to the biology and behaviour of one of the planet's most enigmatic creatures. 

Whales is the first in a series of ocean events at the Museum running until the end of 2018. The ocean is the planet's defining feature and nowhere is humanity’s impact on the natural world more apparent. 

Sensational Butterflies, 31 March to 17 September 2017

Escape the bustle of the city and bring the whole family to enjoy the beauty of Sensational Butterflies, returning to the Natural History Museum for the Easter holidays.

This living exhibition includes a riot of colourful species usually found in the tropical forests of Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Wander through a tropical habitat of flowers, vines and foliage and view these creatures close-up, using a magnifier to admire their intricate beauty and tiny features.

Venom, opens November 2017

Explore the visceral fear and ever-lasting fascination that venom evokes, and see first-hand how one of nature's most deadly forces provides humans with surprising medical innovations. From diabetes to impotence, scientists hope to unlock the mysteries of venom to help combat some of the most common conditions in our world today.

Delve in to the Museum's groundbreaking autumn exhibition as we pose the question; as we discover more about venom, should we embrace or retreat from its power? Venom is the ultimate weapon found in nature - yet despite the threat they represent to humans, venomous species are a vital part of ecosystems on our planet.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, opens October 2017

From intimate portraits to dramatic landscapes, see how photographers' passion for the natural world produces startling images. Enjoy 100 shots selected by an international panel of judges at the fifty-third Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It will tour across the UK and internationally to locations such as Spain, Canada and the USA.

The 2016 crop of winning images went on show in October 2016 and remain until 10 September 2017.

After Hours events, throughout 2017

Night owls can see the Museum come to life after dark by exploring galleries, exhibitions and shops after hours, and enjoying expert-led talks and events at Lates. From January 2017 through to the summer, the After Hours events programme continues in all areas apart from Hintze Hall, ready for the blue whale to dive into the events from the summer.

  • Pull an all-nighter at the Museum at the Dino Snores for Grown-ups sleepover with a night of music, food, science and cinema. 28 January, 24 March, 19 May.
  • Dino Snores for Kids gives kids the chance to explore the Museum after dark with fun activities and a torch lit trail of the Dinosaurs gallery. 25 February, 11 March, 8 April.
  • Do you have what it takes to catch a killer? Combining crime fiction with real science, join experts to solve a murder mystery in Crime Scene Live. 17 March, 7 April, 5 May, 23 June.


Notes for editors 

Images: Please download and credit: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London (Not for publication)

The Annual Review 2015/16 has just been published and is available to download here.

For more information on any upcoming exhibitions and events or to discuss feature opportunities please contact: Tel: +44 (0) 20 7942 5654/+44 (0) 7799 690151 Email:

  • The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is a world-leading science research centre. The Museum was named the Cultural Attraction of the Year at the London Lifestyle Awards 2016, voted by the public. Through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling the biggest challenges facing the world today. It helps enable food security, eradicate disease and manage resource scarcity. It is studying the diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems to ensure the survival of our planet.
  • Discover South Kensington brings together the Natural History Museum and other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day.