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Inside the Cathedral of Nature

April 12, 2012

I spent a lot of time of my childhood in the Natural History Museum in New York so, I am quite loyal to it and in my mind and heart it is the best Natural History Museum. The NHM in London has 2 things that the one in New York does not; many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value because of the age of the institution and the specimens collected by Darwin.

Darwin pigeon bones

Drawer below contains 80 southeast Asian beetles collected by Alfred Russel Wallace. There are stag beetles, weevils, chafers, jewel beetles and much more.

The museum is a world-renowned center of research, specializing in taxonomy, identification and conservation.

I feel the following story was a very British thing to do.

The giant panda below was the beloved Chi Chi (born 1957) from the London Zoo. Chi Chi became the Zoo’s star attraction and Britain’s best-loved zoo animal. (Chi Chi was an inspiration for Sir Peter Scott‘s original black and white design used as the logo of the World Wildlife Fund). When Chi Chi died in 1972, she was mourned by the nation. A post mortem was conducted and now her remains, now a stuffed exhibit, sit in a glass case in the museum.

The museum also has a large amount of dinosaur bones. One of the most famous and certainly most prominent of the exhibits — affectionately known as Dippy — is a 105-foot (32 m) long replica Diplodocus carnegii skeleton, situated within the central hall. I feel like in this photo it looked like he was smiling.

They also have a moving roaring model of a T. rex in the dinosaur area which scares as many children as possible.

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