Five quiet spaces and galleries in the Museum

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Illustrations by Sarah Maycock

Find calm in the Museum with our list of five quiet galleries and spaces with mindful activities to help your wellbeing.

These spaces usually have lower noise levels and fewer people than the rest of the Museum. They all provide seating. We suggest starting with a calm space near where you entered the Museum. You do not need to enter every space.

A hard copy of this guide can be picked up from the two information desks at either entrance to the Museum. It includes a Museum map and drawing activities.

Ear defenders are also available to borrow from the information desks.

If you are in urgent need of a quiet space, please ask for the first aid room. 

  • Open daily 10.00-17.50 (last entry 17.30)
    Closed 24-26 December

1. Lasting Impressions

The past is imprinted on every specimen in this gallery. These specimens all tell a different story: from 200-million-year-old dinosaur footprints to lichens that live for 10,000 years.

Here you will find an uncluttered space with about 10 specimens to touch. 

Feel and compare the textures. We suggest finding a less busy spot - you can tuck yourself behind a specimen to get out of the flow of people. 

Location: near the Exhibition Road entrance in the Red Zone. Pass beside the planet escalator and go straight ahead.

2. Minerals gallery

Step into this gallery with airy space and natural light. The central displays and decorations in this room show how the Museum would have looked when it opened in 1881.

Explore the cabinets and find a mineral colour or shape that makes you feel calm.

Location: near the Cromwell Road entrance in the Green Zone. From Hintze Hall take the lift or stairs to the first-floor balcony.

3. Images of Nature

For thousands of years, humans have used images to record and understand the natural world.

This quiet space with low lighting contains prints and paintings spanning 350 years using different techniques and technologies.

Find one image that you like in the space and look closely. What do you like about it? 

Location: from the Cromwell Road entrance, follow signs to the Orange Zone. It is the fifth gallery entrance on your right, opposite the Dinosaurs gallery.

4. Cocoon

The Cocoon is a quiet, open space with a wide spiral path leading down two levels. This gallery explores the diversity of life and shares how scientists at the Museum store, care for and use the 20 million insect and plant specimens.

Notice how you use your different senses as you explore this space. 

Location: from the Cromwell Road entrance follow signs to the Darwin Centre in the Orange Zone. At the end of the corridor, take the lift or stairs down one level to access the lift to the Cocoon. You will need to take a glass lift up five levels to reach the space. The space is not always open - please ask us before you visit.

5. Contemplation Room

Here you'll find a quiet, naturally lit room used for prayer and reflection. You might find people coming and going around times of prayer.

Humans and other animals naturally have a fight-or-flight response when under stress. Why not take notice of where tension is in your body and stretch a little? 

Location: from the Cromwell Road entrance, pass under the staircase, through the Central Cafe, under the turtle and turn left into the Blue Zone. It is the second door on your left. Please ask staff for assistance.

Accessibility

Find out how to get to and around the Museum, where the toilets and cloakrooms are, and information for visually impaired, D/deaf and hard of hearing visitors.

The wellbeing guide was co-developed by Wellbeing Champion and Buddy Volunteers as part of the GIVE Volunteering for Wellbeing Project in 2019.
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Heritage Fund.
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