The Natural History Gallery
Since Wollaton Hall opened to the public in 1926, it has been home to the city’s natural history museum. On display are some of the best items from the three quarters of a million specimens that make up its zoology, geology, and botany collections.
Natural Connections Gallery
This gallery explores the relationship between the natural world and ourselves. One of the central themes in the gallery is extinction, and a number of extinct and near-extinct species are on display. These include a passenger pigeon and a flightless parrot from New Zealand – the kakapo. Recent additions to the gallery include the extraordinary duck-billed platypus, a giant anteater and a rare maned sloth. Other popular exhibits include an orangutan skeleton, a hippo skull and a Humboldt penguin, together with many other mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, and fossils.
Recreated in the style of a 1930s natural history museum display, this gallery contains taxidermied Victorian birds and game heads, alongside more contemporary specimens. Many of the birds were collected in Ethiopia and Sudan by the 19th century Nottinghamshire explorer Mansfield Parkyns. These include one of the first two specimens of the shoebill, or whale-billed stork, brought back to Europe in 1850. Other exhibits include a pelican, a bird-of-paradise, and a red kite.
Spectacular butterflies, moths, beetles and bugs from around the world are on display here. Focusing on the biology and life-cycle of insects, this gallery also includes a section on social insects including a Caribbean cloud forest diorama showing some of the birds and mammals that depend upon termite colonies for food and nest sites. Live insects are also featured – these include stick insects from Borneo and Papua New Guinea, and a colony of Madagascan hissing cockroaches.
This gallery showcases some of the 5,000 specimens that make up the rock and mineral collection. It includes some the original Nottingham Naturalists’ Society collection and fine displays of classic minerals from the North of England (early 20th century) and Cornwall and Devon (19th century). You can also get up close to some giant ammonites – fossilised coiled shells of ancient squid-like sea creatures.
The Nottingham Natural History Museum’s famous gorilla and giraffe specimens can be seen here, together with a splendid cheetah – the fastest land mammal. The gallery also features a walk-through waterhole scene complete with zebras, leopards, hyenas, antelopes, warthogs, ostriches, a porcupine and even a fruit bat. An interactive panel enables visitors to hear the sounds made by some of the better-known African animals.
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