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New Vivarium, 2013

As you may already be aware from previous posts, to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Cannon Aquarium on our top floor, we are embarking upon a major programme of improvements to The Vivarium. This will involve undertaking a comprehensive redisplay of the gallery this summer, and through the creation of new, world-class displays, we aim to offer unprecedented levels of public access to the animals.

The creation of a new viewing section straight through to the back of house area, so that visitors can, for the first time, see for themselves the active conservation work taking place with our rare leaf frog collection behind the scenes will be one new feature.

The infrastructure of The Vivarium and its back of house conservation area means that the amphibians will continue to be kept to the highest standards. However, the gallery displays were last renovated in 2000 and, as one of the Museum’s most heavily used areas, now show extensive signs of wear and tear and are in need of updating. This need for renovation has also provided us with a perfect opportunity to reinterpret the displays, creating new themes and harnessing new knowledge and technologies that will significantly enhance the visitor experience.

At the heart of one new theme covered will be two adjacent exhibits, which will contrast the abundant biodiversity of a Central American rainforest in one, against the other showing the graduated but stark effect of a totally deforested habitat.

A range of fundamental and contemporary issues will be addressed through the comprehensive reinterpretation of the gallery. Retaining what is most effective in the existing Vivarium, coupled with a host of visually-stunning new treatments, displays will be arranged around a number of new central themes: Human impact on the Natural World (Rainforest biodiversity and deforestation), Local and Global Reptiles and Amphibians, How humans help these animals, and How these animals help humans.

Through the Vivarium redisplay, our aim is to create a truly memorable experience for our visitors; one I hope which will inspire new generations of enthusiasts with a love for amphibians and reptiles and a commitment to their conservation and habitat protection.

We close on the 21st July, and re-open with stunning effect on 26th October, 2013.

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