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Booth Museum of Natural History, 194 Dyke Road, Brighton, City of Brighton and Hove, England. Opened in 1874 The Romanesque Revival building is listed at Grade II by English Heritage

Museum wins grant to create public-inspired wildlife ‘diorama’

The Booth Museum of Natural History in Brighton has been awarded a £50,000 grant for a community outreach project which will culminate in the creation of a new museum display inspired by the public’s love of birds and wildlife.

Participants will help to create a new museum ‘diorama’ that will provide scientific information for future generations. A diorama is a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures. The Booth Museum aims to engage with residents of Brighton & Hove to discover what they love about nature and their thoughts about climate change in the city.

Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust staff will run a series of fun pop-up events in and around the city to share the treasures of the Booth Museum and encourage people to think about natural history and climate change.

The public will be asked what might be put in a modern Brighton diorama now, versus what would have been seen in the past. They will also be asked about their experience of wildlife in the city in their gardens, parks and streets. Workshops and school activities are also planned.

After the public consultation, the Booth Museum will create the first ‘diorama’ to be built in the museum for over a century.

The museum showcases stuffed British birds collected by Edward Booth in the nineteenth century and displayed in dioramas he had made, the first known examples of birds displayed in recreations of their observed natural habitat and behaviour. Dioramas have since been used in museums around the world including the Smithsonian Institute in the US. The taxidermy birds and animals will come from existing historical collections or by preserving modern wildlife which died of natural causes or by accident.

The project aims to address the challenge of climate change faced by the natural world in the 21st century, using comparisons to cutting edge innovations in the 19th century study of British birds through the work of Edward Booth. It will demonstrate that the study of historical natural history collections can help our understanding of preserving natural history in the modern world and show that everyone can play their part in understanding the value of scientific museum collections.

CEO of RPMT Hedley Swain said:” We are thrilled to receive this funding from The Esme Fairbairn Collections Fund for such a fascinating and exciting project. It’s an amazing chance to show how the scientific advances made by Edward Booth are still relevant and will be for another 150 years. It’s fantastic that we will be able to talk to the public who we know love the natural world so much and preserve that knowledge for future generations to study.”

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund is run by the Museums Association, funding projects that develop collections to achieve social impact. Since its launch in 2011, it has awarded 162 projects with grants totaling over £11 million.

Booth Museum of Natural History

The Booth Museum is all about birds, butterflies, fossil and bones. Founded as a Victorian collector’s private museum, the Booth Museum, part of Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust, now brings natural history to life with interactive displays and ‘hands on’ activities.
Free admission
194 Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 5AA Tel 03000 290900
Monday, Tuesday & Saturday 10am-5pm
Wednesday 10am-5pm (during Brighton & Hove School holidays)
Wednesday 2-5pm (during Brighton & Hove school term time)
Sunday 1-4pm
Open Bank Holidays
Closed Thursdays & Fridays & 24-26 December

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund logo
Booth Museum of Natural History, 194 Dyke Road, Brighton, City of Brighton and Hove, England. Opened in 1874 The Romanesque Revival building is listed at Grade II by English Heritage