UCL’s historic Grant Museum of Zoology in central London reopened last week, and after a major refurbishment… not much seems to have changed.
There are changes, but quite subtle, and in a way, that’s a very good thing, as much of the appeal of this quirky museum is its sometimes more irreverent approach to a serious topic.
The skeletons are still up on the balcony looking down at you and the plastic dinosaurs are still in their little glass case, with a perfectly sensible reason explained in the case.
The legendary Micrarium is still here, and the three-sided glowing case of tiny critters will once again become selfie-central with the mirror in the ceiling, adding extra photo opportunities.
The museum has always been good at looking beyond the big and magnificent beasts that fill most zoological collections in museums, and the collections of the small are so much larger than you could expect for objects that are so very small.
We’re told that there are six new showcases, and during the closure, 200 animals were given conservation treatment, and 350 new labels were written.
It may be my imagination, but the cases also look better lit, or maybe they’ve had a good clean of the glass, but the displays look sharper than I’ve noticed before.
There’s been some shuffling around, and the newest displays are in the glass cases by the entrance.
This means the museum’s mascot – the Glass Jar of Moles — also had to move. And it took a bit of looking around and eventually asking to locate it — the jar now sits in the case with all the other moles and furry mammals.
After a lengthy closure, the museum feels slightly refreshed but without losing the fascinating array and appealing layout that makes it such a pleasure for so many people to visit.
The Grant Museum of Zoology is on the corner of University Street and Gower Street, next to UCL, and is free to visit.
It’s open Tues-Fri from 1pm to 5pm and on Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.