Established in 1905 and named after the first professor of Biology at the University of Sheffield, the Alfred Denny Museum of Zoology contains numerous animal specimens from all corners of the world, including the fossils and material of a number of extinct species.
The museum has been used for undergraduate teaching for over a century and is housed within the University’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. For many years this natural history museum was only visited by staff and students of the university. In 2012 the doors were first opened to the general public for Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind.
Highlights include: a rare Japanese giant salamander, the skeleton of a caecilian (an unusual specimen as these creatures are notoriously elusive), ichthyosaurs fossils (large marine reptiles that thrived during the Mesozoic era and resemble dolphins), and a pterodactyl (the flying reptile species which lived around 201.3 million years ago – 136.4 million years ago). As well as a large collection of leeches used in medicine, camouflaged stick insects, pinned silk moths, ants and wasps collected from Colchester, and a number of decorative caterpillars.
Also check out the two handwritten letters from Charles Darwin to Henry Denny (Alfred Denny’s father) held at the museum, which are available in transcription.
The Alfred Denny Museum (part of the University of Sheffield) is usually open on the first Saturday of each month for guided tours at 10am, 11am and 12pm.