National History Museum

Street MapListing Info

Historic building in Kensington. 1873-81. Alfred Waterhouse. Buff and grey terracotta, pitched slated roof. Twenty seven bays, three and a half to four storeys. Centrepiece of three bays, set forward with two spired towers on either side of entrance. Two end bays to each side topped with octagonal towers with steep pavilion roofs. It is one of three large museums on Exhibition Road, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Its main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road.

The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture — sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature — both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast which dominates the vaulted central hall. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments; access to the library is by appointment only.

Kensington, Natural History Museum

Kensington, Natural History Museum

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