June events at the Natural History Museum

nhm-logo1New this month

After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions
Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller and Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter, poet Ruth Padel, are two of four artists and writers who have created new works for the Natural History Museum’s summer arts exhibition After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions.

The artists used Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, in which Darwin examines the continuity of emotional states of animals and humans, as a starting point to explore the ideas Darwin presented. The resulting works investigate today’s cultural perspectives on human-animal kinship and the study of emotional expressions.

The exhibition will feature new film and installation commissions from Jeremy Deller / Matthew Killip in collaboration with Professor Richard Wiseman and Diana Thater, alongside existing video work by Bill Viola. New literature commissioned from award-winning author Mark Haddon and Ruth Padel will also form part of the exhibition.

The Expression of the Emotions was one of the earliest publications to make use of photography for illustration and scientific evidence, and was hugely popular in its day. With reference to observations of animals in London Zoo, his own children and research into facial muscles by French physiologist Duchenne de Boulogne, Darwin examined emotions on the basis of evolution. It was these thoughts that sparked more widespread research into human and animal emotions.

Adult £6
Child £3
Concession £4

26 June – 29 November 2009
Jerwood Gallery
Everyday 10.00–17.50

Butterfly Jungle
Take a magical jungle journey this summer, as the Natural History Museum comes alive with the brand new Butterfly Jungle. Travel from the dark depths of the forest floor to the heady heights of the tree canopy and experience the magic and beauty of live butterflies and other rainforest creatures.

Your journey begins with an outdoor explorer’s trail. As you climb, crawl, swing and jump your way through the different layers of the rainforest, you’ll discover the amazing characters that live here and find out how they are adapted to survive in their jungle home. Tackle their survival challenges yourself through a mix of fun, physical activities and brain-teasing puzzles. You’ll need to follow the animal tracks, spot the camouflaged insects and swing like a monkey. This place is full of life. In fact, it’s the most diverse place on Earth. Rainforests are home to butterflies, beetles, frogs, snakes, toucans, monkeys and more. In this fascinating exhibition, you’ll find out how they all avoid getting eaten, find food and build a home, and discover why it is so important to protect this rich and beautiful habitat.

Your jungle trail will lead you to the incredible butterfly house where you can feel the life and diversity of the jungle all around you. As you walk inside this living rainforest, you’ll come face-to-face with a huge variety of tropical butterflies from all over the world.

Adult £6
Child £4
Concession £4

To 27 September 2009
East Lawn
A new permanent artwork by artist Tania Kovats, inspired by Charles Darwin to celebrate his two hundredth birthday. TREE is a cross-section of an entire 200-year-old oak tree, cut lengthways, including the roots, trunk and branches and inserted into the ceiling of a gallery behind Central Hall. At more than 17 metres long, it is one of the largest specimens at the Museum. TREE is inspired by Charles Darwin’s iconic tree of life sketch, representing evolution, from his transmutation notebook B.

In 2008, 10 leading contemporary artists were invited to submit responses to celebrate Darwin’s two hundredth birthday and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. The resulting exhibition of proposals, Darwin’s Canopy, was the first event in the Darwin200 programme, a nationwide series of events celebrating Darwin’s ideas and their impact around his two hundredth birthday. TREE was selected for commission from the 10 proposals and is also part of the Darwin200 celebrations.

Daily 10.00–17.50

The Wildlife Garden
Escape the city and wander through the tranquil habitats of the Wildlife Garden. Set in the Museum’s grounds, the garden reveals a range of British lowland habitats, including woodland, meadow and pond, and demonstrates the potential for wildlife conservation in the inner city.

Daily to end of October
10.00–17.00 (weather permitting)

London Open Gardens Weekend
The Wildlife Garden will again be taking part in the London Open Gardens Weekend, when many of London’s private garden squares and other gardens open their gates to the public. Learn about the  uses of plants, how to attract bats to your garden, discover more about life in and around the ponds  and more.

13 and 14 June, 12.00–17.00

Hands-On Nature: Wildlife Garden
Visit the handling trolley in Lasting Impressions or the Wildlife Garden and take a closer look at some interesting specimens with the help of science educators.

Every Saturday and Sunday, 14.00–17.00 (times may vary, please check at an information desk)

Crafty Nature: Beautiful Butterflies
Roll up your sleeves and join artists for exciting craft workshops. Use interesting materials to make fun creations based on natural history themes. This workshop takes place in Fossil Marine Reptiles and is suitable for children under seven.

7 and 21 June, 11.00–13.00 and 14.00–16.00

Gallery characters
Meet our gallery characters in Central Hall and hear about science from an historical character.

William Smith, 7 June, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Annie Darwin, 13 June, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Carl Linnaeus, 14 June, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Circadian Sam, 21 June, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30
Mary Anning, 27 June, 11.30–13.00 and 14.00–15.30


Natural Puppet Tales – Wolf Tales
Join our storyteller and her puppets in lively storytelling workshops based on discovering amazing facts about the natural world. Wolf Tales is best suited to families with children aged seven and under.

28 June, 11.30 and 13.30
Free – to reserve a place please visit the Central Hall information desk

Family Earth Lab
For families with children aged six and above. Drop in to Earth Lab and join our science educators to explore the wonder of fossils, rocks and minerals. Sessions are set up to allow everyone to join in at their own level and there is a range of fun activities to choose from.

Weekends and school holidays, 11.00–13.00

Explorer backpacks
Grab your binoculars, put on your backpack and take a mini-adventure around the Museum. Filled with pens, paper, games and activities, these bright red backpacks are a fun way to explore the Museum’s galleries. Choose from themes including birds, mammals, oceans, primates, monsters and wildlife garden. Suitable for under sevens.

Every day, 10.00–17.00
Free, £25 refundable deposit required, please collect from the Central Hall information desk

Dippy floor puzzle
Enjoy the wonder of our 26-metre-long Diplodocus – affectionately named Dippy – with a soft toy floor puzzle. It’s free and is available in Central Hall underneath the Diplodocus dinosaur. Suitable for children aged seven and under. Complete the puzzle and get a funky Dippy sticker.

Every day (not available on busy days)
12.00–17.00 (times may vary)
Free, please visit the Central Hall information desk

Grab a funky fabric-based dinosaur book and follow a trail through the Museum, finding out what dinosaurs ate, how sharp their teeth were, what dinosaur footprints are like and lots more. Suitable for families with children under five.

Every day (not available on busy days)
10.00–17.00 (times may vary)
Free, refundable deposit required to borrow the book. Please visit the Central Hall information desk.

Jurassic Ark
Take the Jurassic Ark trail, gathering clues and discovering the animals that lurked in the shadow of the dinosaurs. This fun-filled family activity pack includes code-breaking activities, a crossword, word search, stickers, free poster, eraser and pencil. When you’ve finished, you can claim a 10 per cent discount in the Museum Shop.

Every day, 10.00–17.00
Admission:     £1.50, available from the Museum Shop

Focus Points
Don’t miss our Focus Point handling trolleys. Whatever your age, come and explore real specimens with the help of our enthusiastic volunteers, using different natural history-themed activities.

Tuesday–Thursday, 10.45–14.00
Saturday–Sunday, 11.15–15.00 (times and locations may vary, please check at an information desk)
Creepy Crawlies, The Power Within, Mammals

Learning activators
Look out for our friendly volunteers roving the galleries. They encourage visitors of all ages to discover more about the natural world, using Museum specimens from mammal skulls to fossils.

Tuesday–Thursday, 10.45–14.00
Saturday–Sunday, 11.15–15.00  (times and locations may vary, please check at an information desk)

Investigate Centre
Get a feel for how scientists work by having a go yourself. Bring your own questions, or use some of ours in this hands-on science space. Come and explore hundreds of real nature specimens that form the evidence for your exploration of scientific ideas. The Investigate Centre encourages you to look closely at real objects using the many tools provided to find out more and become a scientist for the day.

Weekends and school holidays, 11.00–17.00 (last entry 16.30)
Monday–Friday in term time, 14.30–17.00 (last entry 16.30)

Nature Live events
From dinosaurs and deep-sea fish to evolution and climate change, this topical programme of events brings together scientists and visitors to explore, discover and discuss the natural world and our place within it. Events are held in Marine Invertebrates and the studio seats 60 people. For more details and a current programme, please see the website.

Weekends and school holidays, 12.30 and 14.30

Nature Live event: Reconstructing Lost Worlds
How do we know what extinct animals and their environments looked like? Find out how science and art can come together to recreate impressions of life from the ancient natural world. Hear from a palaeontologist with a passion for painting and see how he attempts to understand what animals such as the dodo were really like.

6 June, 12.30 and 14.30
Marine Invertebrates

Nature Live event: Hunting for Meteorites Around the World
Thousands of meteorites fall to Earth each year. They can give us important information about the birth of our solar system, but before we can study them, we have to find them. Unfortunately, some of the best places to look for meteorites also happen to be some of the most inhospitable, as our Museum researchers have discovered on their fieldwork trips. Join us as we find out what it’s like to go on the hunt for meteorites, learn how they are identified in the field and get to touch real meteorites yourself.

7 June, 12.30 and 14.30
Marine Invertebrates

Explore – Darwin Centre
Go behind the scenes to see the Museum’s zoology collection and glimpse some of the work that takes place there. Tours last about 45 minutes, are subject to availability and places are limited, so please book at an information desk when you arrive. If you have mobility requirements, please tell us when you book and we will provide you with information on access. Children must be accompanied by an adult and tours are not suitable for under eights. Please note, bags are not allowed on the tour and there is a short walk to reach the Darwin Centre.

Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 14.45 and 16.00 every Wednesday at 16.00 only
Free, please book at an information desk when you arrive

Nature Live events
From dinosaurs and deep-sea fish to evolution and climate change, this topical programme of lunchtime events brings together scientists and visitors to explore, discover and discuss the natural world and our place within it. Events are held in Marine Invertebrates and the studio seats 60 people. For details and a current programme, please see the website.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, 14.30
Every Saturday, 12.30 and 14.30

Nature Live Evolution Season
Over the past 150 years, evolution by natural selection has been thoroughly challenged and tested.
Join Museum scientists to explore why this elegant theory remains the only compelling, scientifically rigorous account of how life evolves on our planet. Take part in a programme of free events bringing together scientists and visitors to explore, discover and discuss the natural world and our place within it.

Join us at 14.30 every Tuesday and Thursday from 21 April – 16 July.

Nature Live event: Tracing an Ancestor
All life on Earth is connected, and every imaginable pair of animals and plants share ancestors that are now mostly extinct. How do we know what these common ancestors looked like, and why might this be a useful thing to attempt to find out? Join us as we turn detective and dig through the evidence to reconstruct the last common ancestor of modern birds and crocodiles.

2 June, 14.30
Marine Invertebrates

Nature Live event: Back to the Changed Future
We are in the middle of a global experiment and the outcome is unclear. Our planet is changing and in order to understand what is happening at the present, we must look back into the past. Join us as we delve into Earth’s fossil record to understand how the planet has evolved through time and will continue to change.

9 June, 14.30
Marine Invertebrates

Nature Live event: Fossil Evidence for Evolution
When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, there was scarcely any fossil evidence for evolution. The last 150 years have seen the accumulation of a huge number of fossils that demonstrate the evolutionary process. Join us as we speak to Museum scientist Paul Taylor to find
out more.

16 June, 14.30
Marine Invertebrates

For more information:
Visit our Attractions page on the Natural History Museum

Dinosaurs, volcanoes, precious gems and creepy crawlies – as a visitor to the Natural History Museum you will be amazed by the diversity of the natural world. The Museum is not only home to the nation’s finest collection of natural history specimens, but is also one of the UK’s top attractions, with nearly four million visitors each year. Our collection is made up of 70 million plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals – many of which are displayed in fascinating exhibitions.

Highlights include:

  • The Vault, a dazzling collection of the finest gems, crystals and metals from around the world, including the Aurora Pyramid of Hope, a collection of 296 naturally coloured diamonds
  • Exploring the Dinosaurs gallery
  • Travelling through a giant, suspended globe
  • Becoming a scientist in Investigate Centre, our hands-on education space where you can examine hundreds of real natural history specimens

Opening times:
Every day, 10.00–17.50 (last admission 17.30)


Nearest tube:
South Kensington