Founded on a personal collection.

The Booth Museum was founded in 1874 by naturalist and collector Edward Thomas Booth. The Victorians were passionate about natural history and Edward Booth’s particular interest was ornithology, the study of birds.

During his lifetime he collected a huge variety of stuffed British birds and was a pioneer of the environmental type of display called ‘diorama’, displaying birds in their natural habitat. It was this collection of over 300 cases (with the proviso that the dioramas should not altered) that launched the opening of the museum under Brighton civic ownership in 1891.

Postcard showing Booth Museum of Natural History, 1906

The collection grows

In 1971 the Booth became a Museum of Natural History. It is now home to a staggering collection of 525,000 insects, 50,000 minerals and rocks, 30,000 plants and 5,000 microscopic slides. There are some spectacularly old specimens such as shells from the bottom of a 55 million year old Mediterranean lagoon, and dinosaur bones.

The Booth Museum today

The museum retains its unique charm of the quirky and eccentric with its focus on Victorian taxidermy and fossils, bones and skeletons. And yet it is also firmly focused on modern day concerns of conservation and protection of the planet.

Temporary exhibitions and year-round family and school activities help to promote awareness and understanding of the natural world in a fun and stimulating way.

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