skip to content
  • Butterflies Through Time Exhibition March - Sept 2022

Our Butterflies Through Time exhibition has now finished - it ran from Tuesday March 15th 2022 to Sunday18th September 2022
Swallowtail butterfly

Using wildlife of the past to guide conservation of the future

This exhibition will use UK butterfly specimens from our collections to showcase the natural world and environmental change. It highlights the research that conservationists today are undertaking to reverse long-term declines, including people based here in the Museum. 

Historical museum specimens allow us to see which animals were living in different environments hundreds of years ago, and compare them with those that are still around today. In this way, they can act like time-machines and show us how much things have changed. This helps us understand what has been lost, but can also build an appreciation for the wildlife that remains.

On the pillars across the Museum, the exhibition will highlight 13 local butterfly species which have experienced change over the last 200 years, as well as the modern-day researchers working to study and protect them.

In the upper gallery, we will showcase historical butterfly specimens that are usually held behind the scenes in the Museum storerooms.

In the lower gallery, we will feature 19th century naturalist Leonard Jenyns, whose records inform much of the exhibition, as well as modern-day conservation work that is restoring and enhancing butterfly habitats for the future.

Don't miss it - opens Tuesday 15th March 2022

For more information and to see details on every species - please take a look at Butterflies Through Time

Purple emperor

Pictured: purple emperor, Apatura iris

Dementia-friendly exhibition guide

Explore Butterflies Through Time with our dementia friendly resources, created with cognitive impairment in mind:

Download and print our dementia-friendly exhibition guide by clicking here