Displays of Power: A Natural History of Empire

19th Sep 2019  -  19th Jun 2021

About the exhibition

Once you’ve seen how Empire shaped the Grant Museum collection, you’ll never look at natural history museums in the same way again. 

When the practice of collecting animals for science was at its height, so was the British Empire. This free exhibition connects the specimens in the Grant Museum of Zoology to a wider history of science and Empire, by asking one simple question: “How did all these things come to be here in the first place?” 

Come and see how historical teaching and research at UCL fits into the bigger picture of the history of science and imperial collecting in Britain and beyond. What part did UCL play in the international trade of living and dead animals? And how do colonial ways of working and thinking continue to affect the natural world today? 

Exhibition made possible through a Headley Fellowship with Art Fund.

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For Families

Try our Mystery Specimen Challenge: identify specimens using just a few of their features, and learn about their history along the way.

Inspired by Displays of Power 

Untitled (2019): A Poem by Yomi Sode was created in response to Displays of Power by Nigerian British writer Yomi Sode and directed by photographer and filmmaker Hydar Dewachi.

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Untold Narratives: Colonialism in Natural History was created as part of the assessment for the module HPSC3046 Science and Film Production, run by the Department of Science and Technology Studies at UCL.
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Director and Production Manager: Roween Rawat
Researcher and Scriptwriter: Lizzy Leigh Greenfield
Narrator and Sound Technician: Xanthe Wignall
Director of Photography: Roy Tse 
Lighting Technician: Rachel Ng Wei Ying
Video Editor and Second Camera Operator: Francisco Donado Carro

Contributors in order of appearance:
Hannah Cornish
Luanne Meehitiya
Tannis Davidson

Thank you to the Grant Museum of Zoology and Co-curator of Displays of Power, Subhadra Das.



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