Mini museum celebrates tiny critters


The exhibits at the Grant Museum are so small, visitors can use magnifying glasses. (Robert Eagle/Grant Museum of Zoology via Associated Press)
February 15, 2013

They’re teeny-tiny, there are millions of them and one museum manager says they just don’t get enough attention.

Jack Ashby, who runs the Grant Museum of Zoology in England, said he is trying to give dragonfly nymphs, tortoise mites and sea spiders the attention they deserve, unveiling a Micrarium devoted to some of the world’s smallest animals. Can you guess which two words were used to create “micrarium”?

“You go to any natural history museum and it’s normally full of big animals, but actually the huge majority of life on Earth is absolutely tiny, and we thought we’d right that wrong,” Ashby said. “We want to give people a chance to see what makes up most of the animal kingdom.”

The Grant Museum is home to all sorts of weird stuff: dodo bones, a giant deer skull, an unusual batch of animal brains pickled in alcohol and an even eerier-looking jar jammed full of preserved moles. Ashby said the Micrarium — which is in a former storage room within the larger museum — displays 2,323 slides of mini-monsters, from tortoise beetles to baby cuttlefish. Visitors who have trouble making out the ancient slides can use magnifying glasses.

The Micrarium is open to the public and, like the museum, is free.

But don’t all come at once. The room is very small.

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