Portsmouth museum opens dodo exhibition with one of only 13 skeletons in the world

YOUNGSTERS and their parents are being asked to make the most of the half-term break to see one of the rarest natural history exhibits on the planet.

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 4:41 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th February 2020, 1:08 pm
Cllr Suzy Horton, left, and Cllr Steve Pitt, right, with the dodo exhibit at the Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery. Picture: David George

The Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery in Museum Road has opened a new exhibition, which features a dodo skeleton – one of just 13 in the world.

It is an opportunity to not only showcase the rare exhibit, but also put some of the city’s own natural history artefacts on display.

The dodo skeleton is 12,500 years old and has been donated to Portsmouth for the next 12 months.

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Curator of natural history at the museum, Christine Taylor, says she is ‘delighted’ to have such a rare artefact.

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She said: ‘I got an email out of the blue from a dodo expert, asking me if I wanted to borrow a skeleton for the museum.

‘The one we have is actually more intact than the one at the National History Museum, it’s quite remarkable.

‘I’m absolutely thrilled to have it here – I’ve always had a soft spot for the dodo and this is a real coup for the museum.’

In preparation for the half-term holidays, the museum has put together some activities and workshops around the new exhibition, including a crossword puzzle.

Hopes are high that families will make the most of the museum’s free entry to check out the ‘D is for Dodo, E is for Extinct’ exhibition.

Christine added: ‘This is a really exciting exhibition for people to come and see because nature is such a topical discussion point at the moment.

‘It's a lovely display with British species but also asks the hard-hitting question of what we’re doing to protect local species at risk, such as hedgehogs and puffins.’

At the exhibition’s official opening on February 15, representatives from Portsmouth City Council also urged people to come and take a look.

Cabinet member for education, Cllr Suzy Horton, said: ‘Schools used to have a much bigger focus on natural history.

‘It would be great to have them come down here and see it – it’s proper education and gets the children out to learn new things.’