The Museum's British Insect Collection represents all insect groups from butterflies to beetles and bees, and even flies and fleas. It is ‘Designated’ by Arts Council England as being of national and international importance.
The Collection spans almost the entire history of British entomology, representing extensive information on the biodiversity of Britain, documenting how it has changed during and after the Industrial Revolution. It offers an extraordinary window into the natural world with dozens of iconic species now considered extinct in the UK, including the large copper butterfly and blue stag beetle. The Collection is also home to many examples of the first British capture of certain insect species, including some unique specimens.
As public awareness of the climate and biodiversity crises increases, such museum collections are vital in understanding the extent of species loss and ecology damage.
Through investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players, we can preserve 200 years of natural heritage to be shared now and with future generations.
By the end of 2022 we will:
- Rehouse and document over one million British insects alongside volunteers and visitors.
- Design and deliver a wide-reaching learning and community programme at the Museum and beyond; developing skills and inspiring lifelong interest in the natural environment and conservation.
- Restore and make accessible our historic Pre-Raphaelite-designed Westwood Room; creating new multi-purpose public spaces with displays looking at biodiversity, habitat loss, and the value of museum collections in documenting these changes and their impacts.