Long-lost penguin on show in Zoology Museum
Published On Tue 15 Apr 2014 by Grant Hill
The University of Dundee’s D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum will this weekend celebrate Easter by introducing the public to a recently rediscovered emperor penguin.
Photographs of the original museum established by Thompson, Dundee’s first Professor of Biology, taken around 1900 show a splendid emperor penguin on display. Despite it taking pride of place in the pictures and surviving the demolition of the old museum in the 1950s, the specimen was misplaced during the intervening decades.
By the 1970s the penguin had been adopted by the Biology Society as their unofficial mascot and was reputed to regularly be seen propping up the bar at one of the students’ regular drinking dens. The party years were to take its toll on the humble penguin and it was packed off to be restored, only to be forgotten about until being found at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum earlier this year.
Matthew Jarron, Curator of Museum Services at the University, explained, “Stories have been told about the penguin accompanying students on nights out and, inevitably, its condition deteriorated. At some point in the 1980s the penguin was sent to the old natural history museum at Barrack Street for treatment.
“Somehow it was then lost for some 30 years until its rediscovery in what is now the McManus Collections Unit earlier this year. We have finally been able to have the planned conservation work carried out and our penguin is looking as good as new in its new home in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum.”
Visitors to the museum this weekend will have the chance to name the penguin by entering their favourite into a suggestion box set up beside it. In addition, Thompson’s extensive collection of specimens from around the world will go on display during the Easter opening times, as well as beautiful models, charts and artworks relating to or inspired by zoology.
The museum, located in the University’s Carnelley Building, will be open 2-4.30pm on Good Friday and 10am-12.30pm on Easter Saturday. Entry can be arranged by appointment at other times. Admission is free.
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