Linking Natural Science Collections in Wales's picture


Where would you go to find an emperor penguin from Shackleton’s Antarctic expeditions? How about a holy rhubarb leaf or a two headed lamb? Perhaps you prefer a tiny collection of seaweed pressed into the pages of a book made inside a scallop shell?


These gems and many more are housed in museums across the nation. Some are on display but many were hidden from view until the Linking Natural Science Collections in Wales partnership project brought them out into the light of day. The project has brought together natural science specialists from Amgueddfa Cynru/National Museum Wales and curators, educators and volunteers from twenty partner museums. Together they are lifting the lid, sometimes literally, on a magical world of natural wonders. These include rare fossils, stuffed animals, birds’ eggs and butterflies, herbariums, rocks, delicate illustrations and much, much more.


Linking Natural Collections has a big agenda. It is part of a series of projects which view all the collections housed in museums, archives and libraries across Wales as part of our collective heritage. When the museum material has all been reviewed, it will form an online catalogue, here on People’s Collection Wales, that can be explored by the public as well as an exhibition which will tour across Wales and be available online. Learning materials will also be produced to allow museums to share these wonderful objects with school children, families and interested adults.


The project is showing that museums across Wales are home to some breathtakingly beautiful objects that illustrate the diversity of life in this tiny nation and beyond. These collections can shed light on how that life has evolved, show how it is still changing in the modern world and even how our actions might affect it in the future.


And, in case you are interested, the emperor penguin resides at Cyfartha Castle in Merthyr Tydfil, the rhubarb leaf is in the collections of Abergavenny Museum, the two headed lamb is on display at Llanidloes Museum in Powys and the scallop shell seaweed herbarium is in the stores at Carmarthen Museum.


Linking Natural Collections is a Distributed National Collection project run by the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales, CyMAL and People’s Collection Wales.

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Fossil crinoid

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Fossil brachiopod

  • 1,720
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Fossil giant clam

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Rugose coral

  • 933
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Fossil tree root

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  • 824
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Bluebells by Lady de Winton

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Narcissi by Lady de Winton

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Whale ear bones

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Gold in quartz

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Egg collection

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Seed fern fossil

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Colorado potato beetle

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  • 756
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Slate sample

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Pharmacy minerals

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Insect drawing by Georgiana Ormerod

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Indian elephant molar

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Whalebone Sculpture

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Painted Feather

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  • 1,335
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Murex Shell

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Engraved powder horn

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Nautilus Shell

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Beetle, letter & envelope

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Rhinoceros horn

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Sawfish Rostrum

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Classifying nature

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