Museum of Zoology

Museum of Zoology

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to Museum of Zoology

  • The Finback whale skeleton shown on display inside the Victorian era Museum of Zoology
    The Finback whale skeleton, shown in the old Museum of Zoology

The Museum of Zoology is home to a huge variety of recent and fossil animals. Its collections include those made by great naturalists of the past, rare and extinct animals such as Dodo skeletal remains from Mauritius and a Great Auk skin. The Museum houses some of the geologically oldest fossil mammals, recently extinct Tasmanian thylacines and many other specimens important for scientific research today.

Raise the Whale

The Museum of Zoology in Cambridge is seeking funds to 'Raise the Whale'. We are asking the public and corporate sponsors alike to help us raise the £150,000 needed to put our iconic Finback whale skeleton and other amazing specimens back on public display in time for our reopening in Spring 2017.

Some of our collections are in need of cleaning, conserving and remounting. Without your support, many of these specimens will deteriorate in storage. We want to display as many items as possible from our collections at their best, so that the public may continue to visit free of charge and marvel at the wonders of the animal kingdom for generations to come.

The most challenging specimen to remount is our 21m Finback whale skeleton - the largest of its kind on public display in the world. The whale was stranded in Pevensey, Sussex in November 1865 and its skeleton has been part of the Museum's collection ever since. When the Museum closed for refurbishment in 2013, the whale was dismantled and placed in storage. A new glass Whale Hall is currently under construction and the enormous skeleton will provide a spectacular welcoming sight for all visitors to the Museum. The whale's skeleton needs to be cleaned, conserved, reassembled and suspended from the ceiling to make this possible.

We have been successful in raising £69,000 (as at November 2015) from trusts and foundations but we still need £81,000 and are looking for donations per whale bone. Donations over £500 will be acknowledged in the Whale Hall, according to the donor’s wishes.

How you can help

  • £5-35 will entitle you to a selection of special supporter rewards - see the Museum's redevelopment page for details
  • £500 will sponsor one of the 52 vertebrae
  • £2500 will sponsor either the floating rib or the vestigial pelvis
  • £10,000 will sponsor one of the two flippers
  • £30,000 will sponsor the skull

Find out more

Museum of Zoology's 'Raise the Whale' redevelopment page

To make a gift offline, please contact Rachel French by telephone: +44 1223 336650 or by email:

Museum of Zoology website

Gift announcements

Cambridge owes its world-leading excellence in research and teaching to the generosity of its supporters. Our history is synonymous with a history of far-sighted benefaction, and the same is as true today as it has ever been.

The wetlands of the Camargue, France. Image copyright Josef Grunig and used under a Creative Commons licence
Gift announcement
The MAVA Foundation has given a £1.14 million grant to Cambridge’s Department of Zoology to support its 'Conservation Evidence' project.
Laser laboratory in the Department of Chemistry
Gift announcement
Gift from The Frances and Augustus Newman Foundation for new laboratory in the Department of Chemistry – The Sir Rodney Sweetnam Laboratory for Micro and Nanoscale Biomedical Science.