What was once an old office is now a gallery for the most miniature of creatures. Called the Micrarium, it was opened last week at the Grant Museum of Zoology at University College London. All the walls of the room are backlit and covered with over 2,000 microscope and lantern slides to create a luminous cavern of science. While these slides are a standard in zoological museum collections, they are rarely viewable to the public. The Micrarium includes fleas, delicate squid, and segments of larger beasts like whales and even mammoths. There’s also what one researcher, with some dark humor after our own hearts, thinks might be “the saddest microscope slide ever” (a leech and its clinging children smashed between glass).
As UCL reasons, around 95% of the animal kingdom is estimated to be tinier than our thumbs, yet the colossal animals get all the natural history museum attention. Now the Grant Museum, which was established in the 19th century and is now the only university zoological museum in London, can proudly share its smallest specimens along with its displays of extinct animals, skeletons, and jarred creatures.
The installation of the Micrarium has been lovingly chronicled on the highly recommended UCL Museums & Collections Blog.
All images via University College London.
A PLACE FOR TINY THINGS: THE GRANT MUSEUM OF ZOOLOGY, London, United Kingdom