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15 Dec 2009
The Darwin Center at the Natural History Museum
Culture and Heritage
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Explore the Natural History Museum's brand new Darwin Centre, packed full of specimens, interactive activities and scientific debate.
The Natural History Museum's New Darwin Centre
This September, London's renowned Natural History Museum completes its new state-of-the-art facility, the Darwin Centre.
The first phase, containing 22 million zoological specimens stored in alcohol, opened in 2002.
Now you can also venture into the final piece of the project – a 65-metre-long (213 ft), 8-storey cocoon-shaped structure, which houses 17 million insect and 3 million plant specimens.
Inside the Natural History Museum's New Centre
The new Darwin Centre is a research and collections facility for scientists and visitors alike.
Highlights for visitors include:
An interactive tour
of the cocoon to see the museum's collections and the projects of world-class researchers working at the centre
The Attenborough Studio:
where you can discover more about the natural world and current scientific issues through multimedia, talks, and face-to-face encounters with scientists
Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity:
dedicated to the study of the UK's natural world and a haven for wildlife groups, societies and researchers
Darwin Centre's Amazing Architecture
The new Darwin Centre cost £78 million and took 280 people 25 months to build.
As well as its impressive atrium, the new facility's architectural highlight is the giant cocoon building, set inside an even bigger glass box.
Designed by C F Møller Architects of Denmark, the cocoon is said to be the largest sprayed concrete curved structure in Europe.