Oxford

Oxford's Museum of Natural History's insect displays get £1.3m revamp

Insect exhibit Image copyright Museum of Natural History
Image caption The National Lottery funding will help safeguard the museum's insect collections

Oxford's Museum of Natural History is to go ahead with a £1.3m project to rehouse more than a million insects.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is putting £700,000 towards safeguarding the museum's collections, creating new public spaces and hiring new staff.

Director Paul Smith called it a "complex, multi-stranded and ambitious project" that would make a "very important" collection more accessible.

It will include an outreach programme with insects being shown in schools.

The insect collection "spans almost the entire history of British entomology", a museum spokesman said.

Image copyright Brian Deegan
Image caption Oxford University Museum of Natural History has collected British insects for 150 years
Image copyright Museum of Natural History
Image caption Funding will also go towards taking material from the collections into schools

The Westwood Room, a Pre-Raphaelite-designed space, will be restored to its original 1860 condition, and a new British insect gallery will be installed alongside it, looking at biodiversity and habitat loss.

Stuart Hobley, of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "The British Insect Collection is an incredibly valuable part of our natural heritage, charting the story of 150 years of British bugs and entomology.

"Now, thanks to National Lottery players, the collection will be saved to continue informing vital research and inspiring new generations to love and protect some of our smallest yet most important species."

Work will begin in September, and is expected to be completed in 2021. The outreach and education programme will run until 2022.

Image copyright Museum of Natural History

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