Exhibition: It Came from the Stores, Grant Museum of Zoology, London, until August 31 2012
© UCL, Grant Museum of Zoology
“A lovely skeleton, but sadly lacking a skull,” laments one of the tags afforded to the remains of a Capuchin monkey in this show of the unseen at the ever-exotic Grant Museum. “Rarely do ‘incomplete’ specimens make the grade for display.”
Only a 20th of the kingdom-crossing collection is ever on display in the actual exhibition space, with the rest used for teaching and research at the University College London venue.
But evening events revealing items from the vaults are always popular, and it’s easy to see why.
Pig and monkey teeth, birds and plums in jars, a damaged giraffe skull, stained heads of sheep and an eight-legged puppy (kept in store as one of the archive exhibits which “don’t fit with the rest of the displays”) are all here, as well as whelks, bear feet, books, paintings, pictures and photographs.
It’s also an interesting chance to understand how the research which shapes our knowledge of the animal kingdom comes together, with wax models, murky jars, expedition material and footprint casts on display alongside heavily-conserved dehydrated specimens and some of the museum’s 20,000 microscope slides.