The Natural History Museum in London is one of the most famous museums in the city. Housing over 70 million specimens from the natural world, this museum attracts hordes of travellers each year. Some of the most prominent attractions of this museum include the fossilised skin of an Edmontosaurus, the horned Triceratops and the fabricated giant T-rex (all in the Dinosaur Gallery).
However, there are other treasures in this museum which are more enigmatic than the attractions given above. These attractions are so exquisite in nature that you will be left awestruck when you behold them. The next time you visit while at London, do not forget to have a peek at these latent riches of the museum.
The Colossal Squid
When you first look at this giant squid, you will find it hard to believe that it is real. The giant squid at the Natural History Museum is one of the major attractions of this museum. Around 8.62 metres long, with the mantle length of 1.94m, it is the biggest squid ever to be kept in a museum. In fact, its appearance is more like an alien than a squid. Stored in a huge fish tank at the Darwin Centre of the museum, this megalosaurus akin squid should not be missed.
The Cursed Amethyst
Beyond the heavy steel door of the room (known as vault), lies some of the most enchanting valuables of the museum. Some of them are a Martian Meteorite, a rare crystallised gold nugget and one of the largest uncut emeralds of the world.
Amidst the glitter of all this, is a gem with a dark side to it. Better known as the “Blasted Amethyst” and the “Cursed Amethyst”, this gem was stolen from the Temple of Indra during 1857 Indian mutiny. Now stored in the mineralogy department, this purple sapphire is said to befall misfortunes, miseries and even death on those who owned it in the past.
The daughter of Edward Heron-Allen, (its last owner) donated this gem to the museum after hearing about its curse. Since then, this gem is stored in the vault of the museum.
It is often considered as the missing link between the reptiles and birds. Hailed as the “earliest known bird”, Archeopteryx has the attributes of both a bird and a dinosaur. With the imprints of bird’s wings combined with sharp teeth and fast running legs, this dinosaur-cum-bird is truly a treat for inquisitive eyes. On a closer look, you will even see beautiful feather outlining its arms!
The Painted Ceiling
While looking around the museum, take your eyes upwards and you will see literally a “canopied” ceiling. At the ceiling, a series of panels painted with the pictures of plants and animals cover the whole ambience. In fact, the whole ceiling was painted in order to tell the story of evolution of humans and plants.
Sir Hans Sloane’s Plant Collection
At the heart of Darwin Centre is a set of books and volumes. They are the books by Sir Hans Sloane, an avid collector and one of the most renowned physicians of his times. The volumes are around 350 years old and are made up of preserved plant specimens that he gathered while he travelled around South America and the Caribbean.
Visiting this rare side of museum will be an enthralling experience for you. Scour these clandestine secrets of the Natural History Museum in your next visit and get enchanted.
Jazz is an associate editor with londonhotels4u.com that offers the widest range of hotels in Central London.