Past exhibitions

Wonderfully Wicked Wildlife

Image description

Monday June 18 – Saturday June 30 2012

Visit the museum to see this beautiful exhibition of artworks by members of CRC Foundation Learning and Supportive Education, inspired by the collections of the Museum of Zoology.

Admission free.
All welcome

Carnivores of the World

Maned Wolf, © Priscilla Barrett
© Priscilla Barrett

Friday 23 March – Thursday 5 April 2012

An exhibition of beautiful, detailed paintings depicting all the World’s carnivores by top wildlife artist Priscilla Barrett will be on display at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge from Friday March 23 until Thursday April 5.

Ranging from the largest terrestrial carnivore, the Polar Bear, to the tiny Least Weasel that can squeeze through a wedding ring, the true carnivores – order Carnivora – include some of the world’s most charismatic, admired, feared and spectacular creatures. This exhibition features the original paintings produced for the recently published Field Guide to the Carnivores of the World (Luke Hunter and Priscilla Barrett, New Holland Publishers, 2011).

Wings, whiskers and wonders

wings, whiskers, wonders

May 30 – June 11 2011

Visit the Museum of Zoology to see this wonderful exhibition of artworks by members of Supportive Education at the Cambridge Regional College inspired by the museum collections.

Coded Chimera: exploring relationships between sculptural form making and biological morphogenesis through computer modelling

Coded Chimera, copyright Bruce Gernand.

March 12 – April 23 2011
with a special talk by the artist about the exhibition on March 21 19:00-20:00

This exhibition is the culmination of a one year research project funded by the AHRC in conjunction with the Natural History Museum and the Cambridge Computer Lab, exploring the relationships between sculptural form making and biological morphogenesis through computer modelling.

Sculptor Bruce Gernand, inspired by the work of biologist D’Arcy Thompson’s transformational grids, has journeyed into the realms of biological dynamics to develop new sculptural forms. Using scans of animal specimens and new software tools developed for him by the Cambridge Computer Lab, he has morphed and blended digital meshes of different species to convey qualities of fluidity and mutability. The convergence of the zoological form and computational strategies is guided by a rather un-scientific and poetic concept: the chimera, a composite of different animal features which make a link with a long tradition in art where paradoxical conjunctions represent psychological integrations.

The exhibition includes a revealing display of the processes Gernand has used through digital images, text and small rapid prototype objects as well as the final, more abstract, sculptures. Gernand has worked closely with Prof Norman MacLeod, Keeper of Paleontology at the Natural History Museum and Alan Blackwell, Reader in Interdisciplinary Design at the Cambridge Computer Lab whose generous contributions have made this project possible.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year logo

June 19 – July 24 2010

Stunning wildlife images from around the world will be on show at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge from June 19 as it hosts the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

With categories including Animals in their Environment, The Underwater World, Urban and Garden Wildlife, and Wild Places, the exhibition showcases mesmerising images of life in the air, on the ground and under the oceans.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition is owned by Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Natural History Museum logo BBC Wildlife Magazine logo

Fur, Feathers and Flutterbys

fur, feathers and flutterbys

April 26 – May 24 2010

An exhibition inspired by the University Museum of Zoology by students and staff from Supportive Education at Cambridge Regional College.

Special Exhibtion: Scarabs and Stink Bugs

A Big Draw exhibition inspired by Charles Darwin and created by families working with Vital Communities artist John Wiltshire
13 February – 8 March 2010

scarabs and stinkbugs

This exciting exhibition displayed over 250 beautiful bugs created by children, parents and grandparents from across Cambridgeshire. Inspired by the beetle collection of Charles Darwin, these fabulous minibeasts were made by families during 2009’s Big Draw and Family Learning Festival, as part of Vital Communities.

Working with visual artist John Wiltshire, more than 500 participants were able to observe and handle objects from the Museum of Zoology and Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, before drawing, painting and constructing their own works.

Vital Communities is a partnership project resourced by Arts Council England East and the seven local authorities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Special exhibition: A R Wallace – The Forgotten Evolutionist

photograph by Fred Langford Edwards

An exhibition by Fred Langford Edwards.
5 November 2009 – 8 February 2010.

At the first public reading of the Wallace and Darwin papers on Natural Selection on 1 July 1858 the two men were given equal status and recognition. However, whilst Darwin is celebrated, Wallace has faded from the popular history of scientific thought.

This exhibition is part of a Wellcome Trust funded project to research and promote the contributions of Alfred Russel Wallace to the theories of Natural Selection and Evolution. Working with Dr George Beccaloni of the Natural History Museum, Fred Langford Edwards has explored many university and public collections of natural history, and made two extended research visits to the Amazon Basin and the Maly Archipelago. The resulting work explores the life, ideas, and surviving collections of Wallace, and the physical harships he endured during his travels.

Special exhibition: Seeing the Light Finch by Finch

Cast Glass Finch Beaks by Tolly Nason

An exhibition of cast glass sculpture by Tolly Nason founded on the biological specimens of Charles Darwin. Exhibition runs from July 3rd to September 15th 2009.

Special exhibition: Fens through a Lens

Fens through a lens
19 September to 31 October

Winning and commended images from the recent joint Museum, RSPB and Wildlife Trust local photography competition. Admission free.

Children’s Summer Drawing Challenge: Fenland Future
Closing date: 30 September

Much of Cambridgeshire used to be part of what was England’s greatest wetland wilderness, the Fens. The RSPB and the Wildlife Trust are working together to restore the reed beds and fenland wildlife is starting to return. Use our special Fenland Future challenge sheet to enter the Museum’s drawing competition for under 13s. Please click here for a PDF of the entry form.

Fens Day
Saturday 25 October

Celebrate the wildlife, history and restoration of the fens with displays and family activities by the Museum, Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Fenland museums and others. Free admission and activities. Open from 11.00 to 4.00.

Part of the University’s  Festival of Ideas

Special event: The Quangle Wangle’s Hat

Tuesday 28 October

Free, artist-led drawing activity inspired by the words and pictures of Edward Lear, suitable for children and adults of all ages. Drop in and join in, no booking required. From 11.00 to 4.00.

Part of the Campaign for Drawing’s  Big Draw 2008

Special exhibition: Due South

Saturday 1 July – Saturday 23 September 2006

Touring exhibition by artist John Kelly who spent three months in Antarctica with scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. Admission free.

Special exhibition: Fragility

Monday 21 November – Friday 2 December 2005

A selling exhibition of the latest work by a local women’s photography group, Camiris, based on the theme of fragility.

Monday – Friday 10.00 – 4.45
Admission free

Special exhibition: Encounters

Saturday 20 August – Saturday 24 September 2005

The  62 Group of textile artists respond to the collections of the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge.

The skeletons, fossils and birds of the Zoology Museum provide an innovative and exciting backdrop for a major exhibition of new work by the internationally acclaimed 62 Group of textile artists. The thought provoking works have been inspired by both the collection and the research of the Museum’s scientists and curators.

Monday – Friday 10.00 – 4.45
Saturday 10.00 – 1.00
Admission free

BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2004

27th June – 31st July 2005

Monday – Friday 10.00 – 4.45
Saturday 10.00 – 1.00
Admission free

Special exhibition: Nature on Your Doorstep

11th October 2004 – 12th November 2004

An exhibition of displays by a variety of local conservation and environmental organisation including Wicken Fen, the Wildlife Trust, Cambridge Conservation Volunteers, the Cam Valley Forum and the Greenlight Trust.

Discover what is happening in the local countryside and find out how you could get involved in these exciting projects.

Monday – Friday 10.00 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 4.45pm
Plus special opening on Saturday 30 October 10.00 – 1.00pm
Admission free

Special exhibition: In Praise of Nature – images from the natural world

21 June – 23 July 2004

 In Praise of Nature poster

John Norris Wood, ARCA, FRCA, is currently a visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art, where he founded a course on Natural History Illustration and Ecological Studies. He trained at the East Anglian School of Art and Design, Goldsmith’s, and the RCA where he gained a degree with Honours and a Silver Medal for Zoological Drawing.

He has exhibited paintings, prints and drawings all over the UK including the V&A, Redfern Gallery, Natural History Museum London, Royal Academy, Society of Wildlife Artists, Fry Art Gallery, Chappel Galleries and the London Zoo Isaac Newton Centre as well as at the Natural History Museum, Caracus.

As a freelance illustrator, he has worked for the Post Office, Radio Times, Collins, Longmans and, in the USA, for Time and Life and Golden Press. He has also worked extensively for the London Zoo, providing illustrations to explain animal behaviour, anatomy and appearance. He has written and broadcast for ITV and BBC on natural history subjects, and was a consultant for David Attenborough’s Life on Earth series.

His series for children, Nature Hide and Seek, which he wrote and co-illustrated with Kevin Dean, was designated best children’s science book of the year by the US Association for the Advancement of Science. The series has sold well over a million copies and has been translated into ten different languages. A second book, An Alphabet in Praise of Frogs and Toads was published in 2002 as a special edition by the Inky Parrot Press. It combines his unwavering interest in reptiles with witty narrative and lively illustrations.

His expeditions and field trips have taken him to the Okefenokee Swamp and Florida Everglades in the USA; Yucatan in Mexico; Zaire and Rwanda with Fauna Preservation Society to see Mountain Gorillas; the rainforests of Guatemala; Belize with ‘Programme for Belize’, now World Land Trust (linked with US Audubon Society) and to Galapagos and Ecuador. He was one of the British artists chosen for a Living Earth expedition to conservation areas in Venezuela.

As a passionate conservationist, he has been involved both with students and on his own, with numerous conservation organisations, producing illustrations, prints and graphics for Friends of the Earth, World Land Trust, Fauna and Flora Preservation Society, Programme for Belize, Egyptian Tortoise Appeal and the Environmental Investigation Agency.

He lives and works on his own small nature reserve in Sussex where he has created varied habitats for British wildlife – as all flora and fauna need active protection in our times.

The exhibition contains more than 100 works on paper in a wide variety of media, and also includes examples of John’s illustrated books. Many of these brightly coloured, striking pictures are available for purchase.

Free admission.

BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2002

4 August 2003 – 27 September 2003

 Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2002 poster

Various artists

The touring exhibition of winners and runners-up from the BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2002 competition, originating from the Natural History Museum, London. 90 pictures.

Priscilla Barrett, Mammal Studies

7 – 17 April 2003

Priscilla Barrett SWLA

An exhibition of studies in a variety of media. Approximately 50 paintings and drawings.

Mostly Animals, More Paintings by Martin Wells

24 June – 5 July 2002

 Mostly Animals poster

Martin Wells

A further collection of work from Martin, this time including some beautiful turned wood pieces alongside his paintings and drawings.

BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2001

14 May – 15 June 2002

Various artists

The touring exhibition of winners and runners-up from the BG Wildlife Photographer of the year 2001 competition, originating from the Natural History Museum, London. The framed version this year.

BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2000

4 June – 6 July 2001

 Wildlife Photography of the Year 2000 poster

Various artists

The touring exhibition of winners and runners-up from the BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2000 competition, originating from the Natural History Museum, London. Over 90 fabulous pictures.

Lost Island Life

2 April – 4 May 2001

 Lost Island Life poster

Julian Pender Hume

An exhibition of paintings illustrating extinct or endangered species

Points of View

18 September – 3 November 2000

 Points of View poster

Dr. Frances Ashcroft and Benedict Rubbra

A Sci-Art exhibit visualising insulin secretion.

Primitive Streak

19 June – 12 August 2000

Kate and Helen Storey

A fashion collection based on the first 1,000 hours of human development. More about Primitive Streak

Millennium Bugs

8 – 24 April 2000

 Millennium Bugs poster

Parkside Community College Cambridge

Parkside students
Parkside students creating one of their ‘Millenium Bugs’, after visiting the Museum of Zoology.

A great temporary exhibit created by the enthusiasm of students from Parkside Community College, Cambridge, after a visit to the zoology museum insect collections. The children displayed a range of prints, drawings, paper maché creatures and poems. All work was based on what they had seen on their visit to the museum, in tandem with science-based classroom work relating to the classification of animals.

A great idea, well done to everyone, including Lisa Henshaw and Richard Keys.

It’s in Your Head

6 – 12 December 1999

 Wysing Arts & Zoology Department Researchers

An exhibition of a collaborative visual arts project co-ordinated by Wysing Arts, students from Cambridge Regional College and four scientists from the department of Zoology, University of Cambridge: Mike Bates, Nancy Lane, Dave Satelle, and Mike Laughlin.

’It’s In Your Head’ is part of a larger project co-ordinated by Spacetime Projects of the University of Derby, with core funding from the ‘public understanding of science’ programme of The Office of Science and Technology. At ten UK art centres, including Wysing Arts artists and scientists have worked collaboratively with young people to create artwork about the science of the brain.

The exhibition comprises documentary evidence gained by the students during visits to the scientists within their working environments. The work is a response to the idiosyncrasies within both the working environment and research procedures of the four neurologists.

Mostly Mammals

3 – 13 June 1998

 Mostly mammals poster

Martin Wells

A collection of paintings and drawings. So called as Martin squeezed in a few images of favourite places and some figure drawing into his exhibition along with the rest of the mammals!

Paintings and Drawings of African Animals

13 – 20 June 1997

 African Animals poster

Jonathan Kingdon

Paintings and drawings. The exhibition displayed a mixture of originals and monochrome prints along with Jonathans beautiful limited edition books of bound prints.

An Exhibition of Animal Studies

11 – 20 December 1996

 Animal Studies poster

Priscilla Barrett SWLA

Paintings and drawings

Mammal Studies

26 April – 6 May 1996

 Mammal Studies poster

Priscilla Barrett SWLA

Paintings and drawings

The Dinosaur Egg and Embryo Project 1995

April 1995

 Dinosaur Egg and Embryo poster

Dinosaur group including Ken Joysey, Arthur Cruickshank and Terry Manning

The debut viewing of these beautifully prepared specimens from China

A World of Mammals

18 – 28 July 1995

 A World of Mammals poster

Priscilla Barrett SWLA

Paintings and drawings


21 July – 31 July 1992

Retrospective posters:  one,  two

R.B. Talbot Kelly R.I., S.W.L.A. 1896 – 1971

Retrospective of important paintings and watercolours

Three in One: Naturalist, Doctor, Artist

16 – 26 July 1991

 Three in One poster

Edward. A. Wilson


Recollections in Black & White: A Naturalist’s Pilgrimage

17 – 27 July 1990

 Recollections poster

Hugh Cott

Pen and ink drawings

Last updated: 2 April 2013