Natural History at the Horniman Museum

From Londonhua WIKI

Natural History Exhibit


The Natural History exhibit at the Horniman Museum aims to show how human lives are linked to the nature of Earth. It also attempts to display the diverse wildlife of the world. The creators of the gallery hoped that through the exhibit people would become inspired by nature. The gallery has been open since the early 20th century and has remained almost unchanged since then.

Background or Origin of Article

The gallery was opened in 1901, and its design was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movements of the time period. Many of the original parts of the exhibit remain, including many of the skeletons, taxidermy animals, and animals preserved in fluid. The exhibit even includes a walrus that was collected over 100 years ago, like many of the specimens in the collection. The displays cover a wide range of topics in Natural History, such as evolution and adaptation to the world but also thinks like the effects of selective breeding and domestication.


The exhibit covers a wide range of evidences of evolution. These include evidence from variation, from domestication, from embryology, and from classification.


Two necessary condition of evolution are heredity and variation. Heredity ensures the passing on of characteristics from the parents to their children and variation provides a way to change the descendants from their parents. The differences in characteristics creates a very large pool of traits that may develop in a new organism. This pool of traits allows animals to be very well adapted to their environment. The survival and successful breeding of the animals that are adapted to their environment better than others is called Natural Selection.


Historically, when humans have domesticated wild animals, breeds of animals that are very unlike that of the wild are produced. Successful breeding is done by selecting an individual for breeding that is most like the desired breed and then repeating this process generation after generation. Domestication and breeding are very long processes for this reason. The exhibit at the Horniman Museum showcases two examples of selective breeding, pigeons and dogs.


Almost all animals start as egg and grow to become an adult through repeated cell division. Early stages of embryos of different species look more similar to each other than they do to the adult of their species. This shows that it is likely that animals with similar development evolved from a common species.


  1. Gardens, T. H. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2017, from

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