Natural History Museum's new Treasures gallery highlights exceptional objects

By Ruth Hazard | 25 September 2012
a photo of a large dinosaur skelton at the Natural History Museum
The Treasures gallery will be in the upper mezzanine floor of the awe-inspiring Central Hall, overlooking the iconic Diplodocus, affectionately known as Dippy.© Natural History Museum
The mammoth offering of exhibits at the Natural History Museum means it's easy to lose an entire afternoon browsing its many floors and galleries, but if you don’t have time for a lengthy visit then the new Treasures Gallery may be just for you.

The brand new gallery, featuring 22 of the most extraordinary specimens that have ever been on display at the museum, will showcase some of the most important discoveries ever made about the natural world.

Each of the objects has been hand-picked by expert scientists for display in the gallery, which is set to open on the upper mezzanine floor of the Central Hall this November.

“The Treasures gallery will provide both new and long-standing fans with a fascinating experience when visiting the Museum,” says the site’s Dr Michael Dixon.

“By showcasing the most extraordinary specimens in history through one permanent gallery, visitors can discover everything the Museum represents in a short space of time, or be inspired to delve deeper by exploring our other galleries, exhibitions and events.”

Here’s a sneak peek of four of the ‘treasures’ that will be on display in the new gallery.

© Natural History Museum

Dinosaur Teeth

The original set of teeth that inspired one of the most groundbreaking ideas in evolutionary history – that giant reptiles once walked on Earth. Roughly the size of peach stones and ten times larger than those of modern reptiles, the teeth were discovered in 1822 by Mary Ann Mantell, the wife of doctor and palaeontologist Gideon Mantell.

© Natural History Museum


This 147 million year-old limestone slab contains the fossil of the earliest known bird and is the most valuable in the Museum’s collection. Archaeopteryx is key to evolutionary history as it shows the creature had the typical feathers and teeth of a bird, but the claws and bony tail reminiscent of a dinosaur.

© Natural History Museum
Darwin’s On the Origin of Species

In this rare first edition of one of the most influential books of all time, Darwin asserts his theory of evolution by pointing to the workings of natural selection. His writings also conclude that all living things shared a common ancestry, but that organisms change over time.

© Natural History Museum
Nacreous Ammonite

These 200 million year old ammonites were once owned by geology legend William Smith, and are the reason he came to the conclusion that rocks are layered through time. This specimen is part of one of the most important historic collections held by the Museum, named after the great man himself.

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