UCL Culture - UCL museums, galleries and theatres

2 December 2020

Did you know UCL is home to a family of world-class museums, galleries and theatres? From art to animals, archaeology to performance, science and beyond, there’s lots to explore on campus and online (and nearly everything is free!)

Girl using an exhibit

UCL Culture connects the university’s world-class researchers and collections with leading artists, performers and the public. We are home to the Grant Museum of Zoology, Octagon Gallery, Pathology Museum, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL Art Museum and Flaxman Gallery, as well as Jeremy Bentham’s famous Auto-icon in the Student Centre, the Bloomsbury Theatre and art in the public realm. Nearly all our activities are free.

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham’s Auto-Icon

In the Student Centre you’ll find Jeremy Bentham’s unique auto-icon: the preserved skeleton of the famous 18th century philosopher dressed in his own clothes and topped by a wax head, which was donated to the university in 1850. 

Here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jeremy Bentham

Bloomsbury Theatre & Studio

The Bloomsbury Theatre showcases the best of theatre, music, dance, comedy and everything in-between. We seek out new work by some of the UK’s most imaginative performers and cultural organisations, as well as welcoming high-profile and household names throughout the year.

Visit the Bloomsbury Theatre website

Grant Museum of Zoology

The Grant Museum is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. It houses around 67,000 specimens, covering the whole of the animal kingdom. Founded in 1827 as a teaching collection, the Museum is packed full of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid.

Many of the species are now endangered or extinct including the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo, Over 2,500 students still use the collection for learning and research every year.

Find out more about the Grant Museum

Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Discover 7,000 years of life in ancient Egypt and Sudan.  The Petrie Museum is home to an internationally-renowned collection of more than 80,000 objects which tell the story of how ordinary people lived during the time of the pharaohs. Inside the museum you’ll find delicate papyrus and stone fragments inscribed with hieroglyphs, beautiful jewellery and personal objects, ancient mummy cases and the Tarkhan dress – the oldest woven garment in the world.

Find out more about the Petrie Museum

Ancient Egyptian relics

UCL Art Museum

UCL Art Museum is situated in a traditional Print Room at the heart of UCL. Over 12,000 works of art across a range of media make up its collections. Look out for our latest exhibition Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints, 1792 – 94.  Under UCL’s dome in the library is The Flaxman Gallery, the pinnacle of a vast collection of art works by Flaxman, showcasing the artist’s plaster models in a unique architectural setting.

Find out more about the Art Museum

Here not Here artwork in the Student Centre

Public art at UCL

As you walk around campus you’ll discover lots of beautiful artwork, including brand new pieces by Turner Prize-winner Rachel Whiteread, collaborative duo Thomson & Craighead and UCL Slade School of Fine Art graduate Sarah Fortnais – all commissioned as part of our public art programme. 

Find out more about art at UCL

Get involved

As a student at UCL, you can get even closer to the university’s incredible collections by using them in your research, volunteering in our museums, or you can take to the stage at the Bloomsbury Theatre and perform in front of a live public audience. 

Read our blog written by museum volunteers

Find out more about UCL Culture, our spaces, collections and research and how you can get involved.

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Last revised: 8 September 2021.

Fran Taylor, Communications and Marketing Manager, UCL Culture