Natural History

From Orangutan to Platypus, Polar Bear to Elephant, the museum’s collection of animals includes over 9,000 preserved specimens.

The zoology collection includes numerous mounted mammals, many of which are on display, plus a significant collection of shells, birds, eggs and entomology. The collection is worldwide in scope, with specimens from the Arctic to Asia, Africa to Europe as well as animals from our local environment.

The collection includes many characters such as our famous ‘Tiger and Python’ exhibit, which was originally part of William Bullock’s collection. William Bullock was a 19th century entertainer whose collections of animals went on tour and finally on display in the ‘Egyptian Hall’ in London. His exhibits were designed to amaze and leave Victorian audiences in awe - our ‘Tiger and Python’ continue that tradition and regularly draw a fascinated audience today! Since its creation, the exhibit has been sketched and painted; an oil painting by Alexandre Isidore is part of The Louvre, Paris collection and a woodcut by Thomas Bewick also exists. In recent times, it has been photographed by The National Geographic.

We also take care of ‘Nellie’, our much-loved baby elephant, who once upon a time could be seen outside the museum. Amazingly, small children were allowed sit on her back! More recently she has been conserved and put back on display.

The animals, primarily Victorian in era, are now a much-loved part of the museum and form part of the wider zoological collections held within the north west: for further information, see