Natural History Museum at Tring brings out composite dodo skeletons and peregrine egg

By Culture24 Staff | 23 May 2011
A photo of a large fossil claw
A Steller's sea eagle claw will be on show at the Natural History Museum's Tring site show
© Natural History Museum,
Exhibition: The Secret World of Museum Science, Natural History Museum at Tring, Tring, until November 6 2011

There are always surprises in store when curators dig through the unseen sections of the collection at Tring.

At this show you can see a large-billed reed warbler whose DNA was used to confirm a new species less than a decade ago, a rare composite skeleton of a dodo and a blue lorikeet collected on a late 18th century voyage by Captain Cook, all held among the Hertfordshire site’s vast bird specimen haul.

“We really want to bring alive the work Museum scientists, as well as researchers who travel to see us from around the world, carry out,” says Learning and Interpretation Manager Alice Dowswell, who wants to give visitors a flavour of the “intriguing” work experts carry out there, fostering future explorers in the process.

One of the star turns is a peregrine falcon egg, used by scientists to explain the demise of the species by measuring its shell thickness in the 1960s. The research led to a farming pesticide being banned.

“The eggs reveal the important link between natural history and modern scientific breakthroughs,” points out Douglas Russell, the man holding the enviable job title of Egg Curator at Tring.

“Visitors will leave with a real understanding and sense of the behind-the-scenes work that goes on here at the Museum, which isn’t obvious at first glance.” Video footage and games also feature in a display to capture the imagination.

  • Open 10am-5pm (2pm-5pm Sunday). Admission free. Visit the exhibition blog for pictures and more info on the show.
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