Our Natural Science collections range from geology to specimens of animal life. They are of international scientific significance and are a Designated collection of national importance.

There are three major collections housed at the Booth Museum. The earliest date from the Brighton and Hove Natural History Society formed in 1854. More recently these have been boosted with items previously held in other Sussex museums.

The major collections housed at The Booth are:

  • Edward Booth’s British bird collection, which also include the building he built to house it.
  • The Brighton Museum collection, which include significant collections of worldwide insects.
  • The Frederick Lucas osteology (bone) collection, originally housed in his home museum in Rottingdean.
Butterfly
Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing Butterfly (Trognoptera brookiana)

The collection covers all aspects of the natural sciences. There are large numbers of type specimens (specimens that the species was named from) which are of huge scientific importance to both biologists and palaeontologists.

The Booth Museum has been described by the Smithsonian Institute as the ‘home of the diorama’. The listed building houses Booth’s remarkable collection of British bird taxidermy, which were the first examples of birds displayed in their natural habitats.

Case of Lapwings in the Booth Museum
Case of Lapwings in the Booth Museum

The collections have been used by researchers worldwide, including scientists from Russia’s Palaeontological Institute; Alberta’s Royal Tyrell Museum; the Natural History Museum, London; Stanford University, California; and Cheetah research in Kenya.  They have also been used by numerous undergraduate and postgraduate studies from local, national and international universities.

We are also used on a weekly basis by students, artists, fashion designers and photographers as inspiration for their work. The Booth Museum is also used as a location for photography and video shoots, or studying our specimens for artistic purposes.

We collect items from historical and current scientific collectors from the local area. We also collect historically or scientifically important collections from local private collectors – recent examples include insect collections bequeathed by local entomologist AW Jones, and plant collections from the wildlife recorders for Sussex. We are also the only legal place in the area to dispose of historical egg collections.

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