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on 8 July 2011
This is a truly delightful read. The Natural History Museum: Nature's Treasurehouse is a beautifully illustrated book that tells the great story of the museum's history, including stories behind the origins of many collections (who collected them, why and when they were donated)and how this all helped to develop the Museum into what it is today. The books begins, well, at the beginning with Sir Hans Sloane, a Doctor who lived in the 1600's and collected an abundant variety of treasures throughout his lifetime and upon his death wished for his vast array of minerals, fossils, plants, animals, insects, shells and various other items to be placed together and remain accessible to those who would appreciate them. This ultimately led to the creation of the museum itself.
Sadly the author of this book, John Thackray, whose idea it was to compile this collection of what he considered to be the Museum's important milestones died before this work could be put together. As explained in the first few pages by the second author Bob Press, he put together the manuscripts that Thackray had been working on in order to complete this book, and it really serves as a great testament to him.
The book is a good quality, slim paperback, packed with information and fantastic accounts.
The chapters in this book are as follows;

1. Origins of the Museum
2. The Museum Established
3. A New Building
4. To South Kensington
5. The Collections
6. Exhibitions and Education
7. Research
8. The Digital Age

The photographs (all black and white) from the archives of the Museum are astounding and really capture the era and mood of the time at which they were taken.

Overall a really fantastic and fascinating book for people with an interest in natural history. I wasn't sure about purchasing this at first as there were no reviews and I wasn't sure what the quality would be like but I'm so glad I went for it. I'm very pleased and recommend it highly.
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