Natural History Museum of London – London, England - Atlas Obscura
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London, England

Natural History Museum of London

70 million natural history specimens call this gargantuan museum home. 

Established in 1881, the Natural History Museum of London has an impressive 70 million specimens in its stately walls.

Based on the collection of Sir Hans Sloane, the museum now includes such star wonders as Archie the Giant Squid who resides in the Darwin Centre Spirit Collection of jarred specimens (Archie can’t be in the main museum as its weight would cause it to crash through the floor), as well as a cursed amethyst and a piece of Kryptonite. Some of the specimens were even collected by Charles Darwin himself, a statue of whom sits in the main hall near a replica of a Diplodocus donated by Andrew Carnegie. 

The building was constructed with terracotta tiles in order to resist the soot in the air of Victorian London, with the west wing and the east wing are adorned with images of living and extinct species, respectively. However, you may note a coelacanth in the extinct animals wing, as it was of course only recently that ancient fish was revealed to still be living on our planet. 

In 2015 it was controversially announced that the popular diplodocus skeleton in the main hall (it can be seen in one of the photos) will be removed on the grounds that it is not a genuine skeleton. This has resulted in a well supported “save Dippy” campaign but the decision stands to give pride of place to the real skeleton of a blue whale. In February 2017 the main hall was still under refurbishment and was closed.

Know Before You Go

Please note that the Cromwell Road entrance is closed until July 2017.The Queen's Gate entrance is best for visiting Dinosaurs, and the Exhibition Road entrance is best for Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Volcanoes and Earthquakes.