Welcome to Worcester City Museums and Galleries

The Natural History Collections are very important in the history of the City Museum as their origins go back to the Museum of the Worcestershire Natural History Society in the 1830s. In the nineteenth century specimens of animals, birds and plants were collected from all around the world, but any current acquisitions are made in collaboration with local wildlife trusts and are restricted to Worcestershire. Today, the local material in the collection is valuable as comparative with the biological records produced by the Worcestershire Biological Centre at the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

Huia (heteralocha acutirostris)

The main categories in the Collection are:

Birds - Fish - Herbarium - Insects - Mammals

Marine Materials - Shells - Spirit Collection

Roller (coracius garrulus)
Birds - Some 1300 specimens, with both full mounts and study skins. The birds collected in the nineteenth century include important Australian and New Zealand examples, including the extinct Huia, and the rare Kokako and Kakapo. The noted ornithologist John Gould was amongst contemporary visitors who were inspired by and contributed to the collection.
The curator in the 1900s, W.H.Edwards, was also a taxidermist, and several specimens are his work, such as the large Albatross brought here in the early twentieth century from one of the oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. The largest single part of the collection, including most of the study skins, was bequeathed to the Museum in 1907 by Robert Fisher Tomes, a local Justice of the Peace and collector.

Fish - A small collection of mainly British freshwater fish, but including the amazing sturgeon, nearly 2 metres in length, which was caught in Worcester in the 1830s.

Herbarium - By far the largest part of the collections, with at least 100,000 specimens comprising a wide variety of flowering plants, mosses, algae, lichens, liverworts, ferns and fungi. It is now generally very fragile and has never been completely classified, but the majority are British specimens, and a great number of these are from Worcestershire. The nineteenth century collections of local naturalists include those of William Matthews, Harvey Buchanan Holl, and J.H.Thompson, a clergyman from Cradley. The collection of flora from Wyre Forest was amassed by George Jordean, butler to a surgeon from Bewdley.

Insects - Several thousand specimens of mainly British butterflies, moths and beetles, including the collection from the former Malvern Museum. Whilst many specimens in this collection are very beautiful they are also extremely fragile.

Pair of Stoats (mustela erminea)

Mammals - A selection of British specimens, purchased mainly in the late twentieth century, is enhanced by local examples, groups of horns and bones, and by a collection of foreign specimens, including big game hunting trophies, which came into the Museum in the nineteenth century.
Alpine Marmot (marmata marmota)

Marine Material - A small group of mainly British corals, sponges, sea urchins and crustaceans.

Shells - Some 10,000 examples of land, sea and freshwater shells, including some exotic examples from the Indian Ocean, as well as some from Worcestershire, making one of the largest such collections in a provincial museum.

Spirit Collection - Comprising over 100 specimen jars which contain examples of material from most of the above groups.
Hogs Head and Rear Leg by E. Gerrard & Sons

Archaeology - Art - Ethnology - Geology - Natural History - Social History
Worcestershire Regiment - Worcestershire Yeomanry

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