Even though The Grant Museum in London was established and used for teaching and not collecting purposes, it is still a beautiful example of a Victorian cabinet of curiosities. Part of University College London (UCL) it was started in 1828 by an anatomist and zoologist Robert Edmond Grant. Grant is known for influencing young Charles Darwin who was his student at Edinburgh University.
In 1927 Robert Edmond Grant started working for UCL in London and soon discovered the lack of teaching materials for his Zoology and Comparative Anatomy lectures. This is when the base of the present museum was set. On his death in 1874, Grant also left his personal library and a collection of 10.000 specimens to the College.
Later the Grant Museum grew significantly adding other collections and currently it contains around 68.000 specimens while being one of the oldest natural history collections in UK and the last existing university natural history museum in London.
The museum is open to public only from 1996 and anyone can participate in keeping it alive. In my photographs you can notice that the specimens have additional cards attached to them. To my surprise, these cards inform about who has adopted a particular specimen. For example, the huge jar of moles has been adopted “for life” and a rabbit head for a limited period after which it will become available for adoption again. On the museum website you can find a list of available for adoption specimens and while doing that people help to support the museum.
Some of the highlights of the museum are the skeletons of the instinct species like the dodo or quagga. Also a collection of Blaschka glass sea creatures famous in the 19th century. My own favorite was the bats section: the skeletons, skulls, taxidermy. There are mouse size bats and also others that are large as the monkey. Some of them in jars full of spirit others dissected.
The Grant Museum is not a place I recommend to everyone but if like me, you have curiosity for the slightly odd things, it can be a very interesting place to visit during your visit to London.