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Natural History Museum at Tring

View of the oldest part of the museum, there are extensive buildings to the rear and left.
Established 1889
Location Tring, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Type Mounted zoological specimens
Visitor figures 108,000
Director Dr Michael Dixon
Website http://www.nhm.ac.uk/tring/

Coordinates: 51°47′27″N 0°39′41″W / 51.790833°N 0.661368°W / 51.790833; -0.661368

The Natural History Museum at Tring was the private museum of Lionel Walter, 2nd Baron Rothschild, today it is under the control of the Natural History Museum. It houses one of the finest collections of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles and insects in the United Kingdom. The museum was first known as the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, however in April 2007 the Natural History Museum changed its name.

The museum is located on Akeman Street, in Tring, Hertfordshire, the United Kingdom, HP23 6AP.

Contents

History

The Natural History Museum at Tring, was once the private museum of Lionel Walter, 2nd Baron Rothschild, and is located in the grounds of the former Rothschild family home of Tring Park. The building was constructed in 1889 specifically to house his collection of mounted specimens and first opened to the public in 1892.

Description

The extensive collection, housed in several rooms, includes extinct animals and birds such as the quagga, thylacine, great auk and reconstructions of the moa and dodo. Oddities include hybrids and examples of abnormal coloration. The dogs display was relocated to the Rothschild Zoological Museum from the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London after World War II. These show how domestic dogs have changed shape due to selective breeding and include the tiny Russian and Mexican lapdogs as well as famous racing greyhounds. The Museum has six galleries, each one of which houses a different set of animals. The first gallery contains birds, large carnivores and primates, the second is used to show temporary exhibits, the third Crocodiles, Crustaceans, fish, insects, large mammals and marine invertebrates, the fourth accommodates Rhinoceroses, Tapirs, wild ass and Zebras, the fifth holds Antelope, cattle, deer, goats, hippopotamuses, marine mammals, pigs and sheep finally the sixth gallery contains Amphibians, bats, British Mammals, domestic dogs, flightless birds, reptiles and small mammals. The Museum also contains a Discovery Room, designed for young children and the Rothschild Room which is a room set out to recreate the surroundings that the Rothschild family would have worked in.

It became part of the Natural History Museum in 1937. In April 2007 its name was changed to the Natural History Museum at Tring.

The site is also home to the ornithological research collections (Bird Group, Department of Zoology) and the ornithological library (Department of Library and Information Services) of The Natural History Museum, but these are not open to the public.

There are small special themed exhibitions throughout the year showcasing specimens not normally on display, as well as activities for youngsters.

The museum is best accessed by car. The nearest rail station is at Tring Station which is two miles from Tring. Buses and taxis run during commuter times, but are infrequent outside of rush hours and taxis do not wait at the station at weekends. The nearest taxi company is at Berkhamsted. According to museum staff, the reason the rail station is so remote is that Lord Rothschild did not want passing trains to upset his menagerie. He was able to ride to the station in a horse-drawn, or zebra-drawn, carriage.

The museum's Zebra Cafe alludes to Lord Rothschild's love of zebras and has photographs of his trained zebras harnessed to open carriages. He also bred hybrids between zebras and horses (zebroids) and a hybrid foal is on display.

Gallery

Bibliography

More information about the collecting of animals can be found in the book Dear Lord Rothschild: Birds, Butterflies and History ISBN 0-86689-019-X

External links


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