‘Secret’ natural history museum opens its doors

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A ‘SECRET’ natural history museum in Sheffield is set to open on a regular basis.

TV bird expert and animal behaviour specialist Prof Tim Birkhead opened the doors of the little-known Alfred Denny Museum at the University of Sheffield to the public for the first time in over a century for a series of guided tours during the Festival of the Mind last September.

Visitors flocked to see some of the weird and wonderful artefacts, including the enormous skull of an extinct man-sized eagle, known as the ‘Terror Bird’.

Now Prof Birkhead has secured funding to open the museum to the public on the first Saturday of every month between 9.30 and 1pm. The first time was last weekend.

Other exhibits at the museum, which was created by the university’s first Professor of Biology, Alfred Denny, in 1905, include a half porpoise, fossilised tiny flying dinosaurs and Sun Spiders with their ferocious, poisonous jaws.

Prof Birkhead said public enthusiasm for the museum had been “inspirational”.

He added: “We’re so pleased that the public are eager to learn more about the amazing world of nature and there’s no better place to start than here at the Alfred Denny Museum.”

The museum is in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. Places can be booked via r.myers@sheffield.ac.uk or 222 9308 during office hours.