By James M Heather, on 23 July 2012
Not for the faint hearted, It Came From The Stores revealed some of the weird and wonderful specimens that for one reason or another don’t make it out to the display cases.
The Grant Museum is probably my favourite of the UCL museums. It’s a wonderful cosy natural history museum, which makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to some Victorian-era collection, where bottled animals and wired skeletons peer out of the display cases at you.
There’s a very good reason for this impression, as the core collection of the museum was gathered in the early 1800s by the museum’s namesake, Robert Edmond Grant (one of Charles Darwin’s influential mentors), to serve as a teaching collection for the university.
In the intervening centuries, various other scholars, curators and collectors have made their own additions. However, not all of these samples are out on display; at the Grant Museum only five per cent of the material they own is on show.
This may seem surprising to those of us who aren’t in the museum trade, but apparently this is a relatively high number, with larger national museums displaying a fraction of a percent!