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THE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution Theodosius Dobzhansky

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Using our unrivalled collections, images, video and sound, we will bring vividly to life the range of animal life on Earth in all its amazing diversity. The new displays will also highlight some of the personal stories of the collectors, naturalists and scientists who have contributed to the collections drawing on many of our unseen collections. For the first time, we will be able to show to the public the diversity and wonder of the animal kingdom. From the story of how animals evolved on this planet and the amazing diversity of life on Earth today, to current research about how the changes that are affecting the planet are having an impact on the animal kingdom.

The Insect collection includes a collection of beetles, in a single box, which Charles Darwin made when he was a student at Cambridge. These are of exceptional interest to evolutionary biologists, since it could be argued that it is these animals that first ignited Darwin’s serious interest in natural history and biology. ‘I have a great number of insects at Cambridge for you... Whenever I take anything good, you may rely upon it, that you are always uppermost in my mind: I shall not soon forget my first entomological walks with you...’ (Letter from Darwin to Fox, 15th July 1829)

This shell, Astraea heliotropium, was collected on Captain Cook’s second circumnavigation undertaken between 1772 and 1775. It was found in Cook’s Strait in New Zealand.




Redisplay the museum’s collections in a dynamic and exciting way Make our collections accessible to specialists and non-specialist audiences Ensure the long-term sustainability of the Museum’s internationally significant collections Improve the Museum’s storage facilities Enable greater access to the collections Enable more visitors to enjoy a better experience Expand the Museum’s education programmes and online facilities

By June 2016, when the Museum re-opens, we will have completed a major refurbishment of the Museum, its archives and its reserve collections.


Preserving and sustaining bio-diversity


Our aim is to develop the Museum as a major national and international resource for the understanding of animal biodiversity in the past, today and in the future. We wish to improve public understanding and appreciation of the animal kingdom in all its amazing diversity. To this end we will:


Zoology Museum, Cambridge  

Fund-raising brochure for the University Zoology Museum Cambridge