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Gardens of Natural History Museum set to be transformed with £3.2million National Lottery grant

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44814641 9736937 The Gardens Of The Natural History Museum In South Kensington Lo A 118 1624976009313.jpg
44814641 9736937 The Gardens Of The Natural History Museum In South Kensington Lo A 118 1624976009313.jpg

THA


The gardens of the Natural History Museum are set to be transformed using funds from a new £3.2million grant awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  

The institution, which is based in South Kensington, London, announced today it had received money for its ‘Urban Nature Project’ (UNP), which aims to promote biodiversity and the problem of habitat loss in the natural world.

As part of the plans, the museum’s five-acre gardens will be turned into what is being called a ‘globally relevant’ urban nature ‘epicentre’.

When the gardens are complete in 2023, visitors will be able to tour a carbon-neutral project that will ‘protect and increase’ biodiversity and also display an array of fossils telling the story of the Earth’s history. 

Visitors will also be told about the ‘profound’ impact which humans have had on the planet despite our relatively short existence in comparison to the age of the Earth itself.  

Taking pride of place in the gardens will be a brand new weatherproof version of the museum’s famous 105ft diplodocus dinosaur. 

The existing cast, known as Dippy, had been displayed in the museum’s Hintze Hall since 1905 until it was removed in 2017 to go on a ‘tour’ of the UK. It was replaced in Kensington with  ‘Hope’ the blue whale. 

The museum claims the UNP will also reach more than 1.5million people across the UK via learning programmes and volunteer schemes, with the aim of raising awareness about the threats facing the planet and its species. 

The gardens of the Natural History Museum, in South Kensington, London are set to be transformed using funds from a new £3.2million grant awarded by the National Lottery. Taking pride of place in the gardens will be a brand new weatherproof version (above) of the museum's famous 105ft diplodocus dinosaur. The existing cast, known as Dippy, has been displayed in the museum's Hintze Hall since 1905

The gardens of the Natural History Museum, in South Kensington, London are set to be transformed using funds from a new £3.2million grant awarded by the National Lottery. Taking pride of place in the gardens will be a brand new weatherproof version (above) of the museum’s famous 105ft diplodocus dinosaur. The existing cast, known as Dippy, has been displayed in the museum’s Hintze Hall since 1905

The institution announced today it had received money for its 'Urban Nature Project' (UNP), which aims to promote biodiversity and the problem of habitat loss in the natural world

The institution announced today it had received money for its ‘Urban Nature Project’ (UNP), which aims to promote biodiversity and the problem of habitat loss in the natural world

As part of the plans, the museum's five-acre gardens will be turned into what is being called a 'globally relevant' urban nature 'epicentre'

As part of the plans, the museum’s five-acre gardens will be turned into what is being called a ‘globally relevant’ urban nature ‘epicentre’

Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum, said: ‘We’re delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has given us this tremendous opportunity to support and protect urban nature and reengage people with the incredible biodiversity on their doorsteps.’ 

‘Now more than ever, we need to work together to address the critical threats facing our planet, stop the free fall in species diversity and get children re-engaged with the natural world. 

‘This grant will allow us to address these urgent concerns and, working with a fantastic host of partners to deliver cutting edge science, learning, volunteer and apprenticeship programmes across the UK, launch a movement to revitalise and protect our natural urban spaces for generations to come’. 

What the museum has called a ‘living lab’ will also be created at its South Kensington site to allow scientific research to be carried out. 

An education centre in Kensington will also provide nature programmes linked to the national curriculum, whilst a summer volunteer programme will allow students to play an active role at the museum. 

The existing cast, known as Dippy, had been displayed in the museum's Hintze Hall since 1905 until it was removed in 2017 to go on a 'tour' of the UK. It was replaced in Kensington with 'Hope' the blue whale

The existing cast, known as Dippy, had been displayed in the museum’s Hintze Hall since 1905 until it was removed in 2017 to go on a ‘tour’ of the UK. It was replaced in Kensington with ‘Hope’ the blue whale 

An education centre in Kensington will also provide nature programmes linked to the national curriculum, whilst a summer volunteer programme will allow students to play an active role at the museum

An education centre in Kensington will also provide nature programmes linked to the national curriculum, whilst a summer volunteer programme will allow students to play an active role at the museum

A portion of the money will also be used to 'create digital programmes to inspire and connect diverse audiences to urban nature', the museum said. Above: The exterior of the planned children's classroom in the grounds of the museum

A portion of the money will also be used to ‘create digital programmes to inspire and connect diverse audiences to urban nature’, the museum said. Above: The exterior of the planned children’s classroom in the grounds of the museum

What the museum has called a 'living lab' will also be created at its South Kensington site to allow scientific research to be carried out. Above: An artist's depiction of how the gardens will look after the work is carried out

What the museum has called a ‘living lab’ will also be created at its South Kensington site to allow scientific research to be carried out. Above: An artist’s depiction of how the gardens will look after the work is carried out

Other heritage institutions which will benefit from the new grant include the National Museums of Cardiff and Northern Ireland, the Great North Museum.   

Kate Holden, learning officer at the Great North Museum, said: ‘It really is exciting to be part of a national programme, with national profile, addressing some of the key issues of our time. 

‘This project has a huge amount of expertise behind it and has been developed with care, ambition and a clear vision.

‘Working with a brilliant network of national partners, scientists and schools in such a collaborative way enhances our work and allows us to have huge impact with our own audiences.’

A portion of the money will also be used to ‘create digital programmes to inspire and connect diverse audiences to urban nature’, the museum said.       

The project comes after Sir David Attenborough warned in October last year that children needed access to nature so they could understand wildlife and help to protect it in the future. 

‘The natural world is under threat as never before. Species that were a common sight in gardens across the country when I was young, such as hedgehogs, are rarely seen by children today,’ he said.

‘These declines have devastating consequences for wildlife. 

Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum, said: 'We're delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has given us this tremendous opportunity to support and protect urban nature and reengage people with the incredible biodiversity on their doorsteps'. Above: How part of the gardens will look

Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum, said: ‘We’re delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has given us this tremendous opportunity to support and protect urban nature and reengage people with the incredible biodiversity on their doorsteps’. Above: How part of the gardens will look

Dr Gurr added: 'Now more than ever, we need to work together to address the critical threats facing our planet, stop the free fall in species diversity and get children re-engaged with the natural world. This grant will allow us to address these urgent concerns and, working with a fantastic host of partners to deliver cutting edge science, learning, volunteer and apprenticeship programmes across the UK, launch a movement to revitalise and protect our natural urban spaces for generations to come'

Dr Gurr added: ‘Now more than ever, we need to work together to address the critical threats facing our planet, stop the free fall in species diversity and get children re-engaged with the natural world. This grant will allow us to address these urgent concerns and, working with a fantastic host of partners to deliver cutting edge science, learning, volunteer and apprenticeship programmes across the UK, launch a movement to revitalise and protect our natural urban spaces for generations to come’

‘Unless children have access to nature and experience, understand and nurture wildlife, we know they might never feel connected to nature and could grow up with no interest in protecting the natural world around them.’  

Stuart McLeod, of the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund, said: ‘We are delighted to support The Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project and help it to achieve the co-shared ambition to better understand and ultimately reverse the rapid decline of habitat loss witnessed in our cities.

‘While we face unprecedented challenges brought by the pandemic, investing in nature-themed heritage projects remains a top priority for us as it improves people’s lives and makes communities better places to live.

‘We ask the projects we fund to do their upmost to think sustainably, support nature’s recovery and consider the future of our cultural and natural heritage.

‘Thanks to National Lottery players, this iconic London institution will do exactly that while engaging a wider range of people with the incredible biodiversity on their doorsteps.’ 

Stuart McLeod, of the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, said: 'We are delighted to support The Natural History Museum's Urban Nature Project and help it to achieve the co-shared ambition to better understand and ultimately reverse the rapid decline of habitat loss witnessed in our cities'. Above: How the gardens will look

Stuart McLeod, of the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund, said: ‘We are delighted to support The Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project and help it to achieve the co-shared ambition to better understand and ultimately reverse the rapid decline of habitat loss witnessed in our cities’. Above: How the gardens will look

The plan is for the new gardens to both protect and promote biodiversity in the urban green space

The plan is for the new gardens to both protect and promote biodiversity in the urban green space

The project comes after museum bosses announced last year that they were conducting a review into potentially ‘offensive’ collections.  

In documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph, museum staff were told that as a result of the Black Lives Matter protests, the museum would undertake a review of room names, statues and collections that ‘could potentially cause offence’.

The executive board of the Natural History Museum was said to be ‘very engaged’ with the issue and circulated an academic paper to staff which claimed ‘science, racism, and colonial power were inherently entwined’.

The paper proposed publicly acknowledging the past to create ‘less racist’ museums. 



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