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The Grant Museum of Zoology is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. It houses around 67,000 specimens, covering the whole Animal Kingdom. Many of the species are now endangered or extinct including the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo.
Established in 1827 by Robert Edmond Grant (1793-1874) to serve as a teaching collection at the newly founded University of London (later University College London). Grant was the first Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in England and upon arrival at the University found no teaching materials with which to conduct his courses. He immediately began to amass specimens, material for dissection, diagrams and lecture notes and these form the basis of the museum today.
Sadly, in over 170 years much has befallen the museum. In 1884, a ceiling collapse destroyed a number of specimens, the 1890s saw more ceiling collapses and flooding and in the 1970s the roof was completely missing. During world war two the whole collection was evacuated to Bangor and on more than one occasion the museum has been under threat of closure. In recent years, however, the museum has gone from strength to strength.
To complete the collection again, in the recent years, the museum has also become a 'museum of museums' as material from other London institutions ended up at UCL.
The museum also holds a number of wax models used in teaching and around 20,000 microscope slides from scientific research material through to sets of microscope slides that students would borrow for a year.
In 1997 the collection was renamed in honour of its founder Robert Grant. Today, the museum continues to be used as a teaching collection, as it was in Grant’s day, but is now accessible to more people than ever. They come to see this unique and quirky collection of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid.