Did you know that nearly 95 percent of animal species are smaller than a person’s thumb? It is pretty surprising that despite this fact, the usual animals that we see displayed in museums are those of vertebrates like monkeys, lions, and birds. Fortunately for us, there is the Micrarium inside The Grant Museum of Zoology at University College London.
There are over two thousand slides on display in the Micrarium, lining the walls from floor to ceiling and lit from behind, allowing visitors to see details like the leg muscles of fleas and cross section of a fly.
Of course, showcasing only the invertebrates would not represent the diversity of the animal kingdom, and so the Micrarium also displays the large animals such as mammoths and squids. But, similar to the tiny animals, the place presents these vertebrates in microscope slides.
Though two thousand is a lot of slides, thanks to their size, the entire collection fits snugly inside a walkable closet-like thing that previously functioned as a storeroom. The ceiling is mirrored which gives the impression that the collection continues to infinity.
In his 2013 tweet announcing the opening of the Micrarium, Jack Ashby, Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology, states that the Micrarium wasn’t built “for visitors to get specific insights into individual specimens or species.” Rather, it was built “to appreciate the sheer vastness of invertebrate diversity.”
Now that’s a place worth visiting at least once in your lifetime.
(Image Credit: Kate McNab)