Extinction or Survival?

At Manchester Museum…

Hello everyone! Last week I went to the press release preview of Manchester museum’s new exhibition – ‘Extinction or Survival,’ and it was so good! We are organising a tour here with the fabulous curators, so keep an eye out for the event!

The whole process of designing this new exhibition – from the initial ideas, to arranging and sourcing all of the specimens and objects to go in the space -took about a year. The original idea was to design an exhibition based on evolution, but with the introduction of the climate change exhibition in the Living World’s gallery, the team decided that an over-arching environmental theme would be a great idea. It would not only tie all of the spaces in the museum together, but also use it as a good platform to reinforce the ideas about climate change and conservation.

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In the exhibition, there are loads of new specimens on show for the first time. Collaborations with other organisations mean that some specimens have been loaned from other museums and collections – so there are some really rare and cool pieces on display! My personal favourites include the giant panda, a huge American bison, and a really cute thylacine. 

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My favourite part of the exhibition (apart from the giant panda!) is a section showing the wonderful array of wildlife which we have (and had) in Britain. I personally didn’t know just how many endemic species we had in Britain, and this really opened my eyes up to see how many creatures are on our little island! It makes you realise that conservation isn’t just about saving the elephants – it is about making a difference to your local environment as well. We can all do something to help the wildlife in our country – whether it is to plant a hedgerow to encourage hedgehogs, or to have a beehive. Indeed, some of Manchester’s local conservation projects are highlighted here, along with a very beautiful specimen of an extinct European lynx – inviting us all to think about the possibility of rewilding Britain. Would you want to see wolves and lynx once again in the countryside?

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On a more somber note, the museum have also brought out a case from their zoology store. This allows you to get an idea of the scale of their collections at the museum, but also highlights the fact that – if the current rate of extinction continues; then one day, the only way that any of these amazing animals will exist will be in museum stores like this one. A sad thought – but it gives you plenty of motivation for action and conservation! 

Thanks for reading! Jen 🙂 

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