The Natural History Museum is one of three large museums. The others are the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is home to some 70 million items. The museum is renowned for its display of dinosaur skeletons, particularly the large Diplodocus cast which dominates the entrance. The foundation of the collection was a bequest by Irish doctor Sir Hans Sloane, which included dried plants, animal and human skeletons, was housed in Montague House, the home of the British Museum. In the late 1850s, it was evident that the natural history departments needed a bigger and separate building. It remained a department of the British Museum with the formal name British Museum (Natural History). However it was not until the Museums and Galleries Act of 1992 that the Museum's formal title was finally changed from B.M.(N.H.) to The Natural History Museum.
The newly-developed Darwin Centre, holds a collection of millions of preserved specimens, interactive materials and new workspaces. Phase one of the Darwin Centre houses the Zoological department's spirit collections. Phase two of the project will bring the Entomology collections and Botanical collections under the same roof. Archie the squid, an 8 metre long giant squid, is currently on display in a prominent position in the large specimen room. The museum will also hold the remains and bones of the River Thames Whale that lost its way on 20 January 2006 and ended up in the Thames.
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