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Natural History Museum to send its treasures around the world

Treasures of the Natural World premieres in Tokyo, March 2017

Animals that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, a lion from the royal menagerie and an exquisite glass model of an octopus will set off on a global voyage next year. Treasures of the Natural World: Best of London’s Natural History Museum will share the world-leading collection’s most extraordinary items internationally for the first time.

The tour debuts with a three month run at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, from March 2017, in partnership with media group The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Around 180 specimens will be hand-picked for their scientific, historic and cultural importance, revealing tales of adventure with insights into some of the greatest scientific minds. The collection traces a centuries-long quest to understand the natural world, from the Enlightenment through to the present day. Many items inspired scientific discoveries that changed how we see the world.

Today natural history collections remain a vital resource for scientists working to understand life on our planet, the impact of future change and how to enable a sustainable future. Research collaboration between Japanese and UK scientists continues to develop the collections to produce benefits for both countries and the wider world.

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, says:

“It is a pleasure to be working with our Japanese partners to launch this international tour. Science is a global endeavour fuelled by wonder and curiosity so it has been an ambition for us to share these extraordinary treasures with a wider audience. They are the essence of the scientific exploration that inspired pioneers and continues today at the Natural History Museum.”

Dr Yoshihiro Hayashi, Director of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, says:

“I would like to express the deepest thanks to Sir Michael Dixon for his kind decision to hold this touring exhibition next year in Japan.”

“Many Japanese people know the Museum’s collection has excellent stories in scientific, cultural and historical aspects, and hope to visit and to see these treasures in our museum as soon as possible.”

Notes for editors

Please download and credit: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Media contact:  +44 (0) 20 7942 5654 / +44 (0) 7799 690151

Visitor information:
the Treasures exhibition in the Cadogan Gallery at the Natural History Museum, London, remains open during the Treasures of the Natural World tour.

  • The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is a world-leading science research centre. 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.
  • Established in 1877, the National Museum of Nature and Science boasts one of the richest histories of any museum in Japan. It is Japan’s only nationally administered comprehensive science museum, and is a central institute for research in natural history and history of science and technology. It serves as a guardian of a valuable collection of over 4 million specimens.
  • The Yomiuri Shimbun is a Japanese national newspaper with a 140-year history. Through the three headquarters and regional bureaus throughout Japan and major cities of the world, it reports on domestic and foreign issues on our morning and evening editions. Its morning newspaper alone exceeds 9,000,000 copies, giving the newspaper the largest circulation in the world.