London Blog

In Pictures: Grant Museum Prepares To Reopen

Your first task is to guess how many moles are in this jar:


Just one of many bizarre encounters in UCL’s Grant Museum of Zoology, almost ready to reopen after a year’s closure.

I wandered over yesterday to see how preparations are going for the big reopening. The museum’s been busy moving thousands of zoological specimens from their former Gower Street basement to an old medical library in the Rockefeller Building across the road.

The new setting is stunning. The old library fittings are intact, with skeletons, skulls, shells and pickled creatures of every persuasion crammed into wooden cabinets (some dating back to the Great Exhibition of 1851).

Your second task is to identify this mammal skeleton.


All the old favourites are there: the walrus penis bone, the quagga skeleton, Elkie the giant deer, along with thousands of other specimens. The new gallery is much more spacious than the previous venue, providing better facilities for the museum’s regular events programme.


Slightly shaky image of some skeletal librarians.

Although the museum maintains an endearing Victorian air, the new venue comes with a technological twist. Ten of the more intriguing exhibits will be accompanied by interactive iPad displays, using a custom app made by UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Curators think this may be the first application of iPads to museum exhibitions. Twitter hashtags and QRCodes will also bring the museum’s curiosities into the virtual world.

Your third task is to visit this treasure of a museum at the first opportunity.


The museum opens to the public on 15 March. Entrance is free.


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