Wednesday, 16 April 2014
From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
The D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum at the University of Dundee will be re-opening for Easter, but instead of the Easter bunny we’ll be showing off our Easter penguin!
This special attraction is a newly discovered, long-lost specimen from D’Arcy Thompson’s original museum. Photos of the museum taken around 1900 show a splendid emperor penguin on display. The penguin (probably brought back from the pioneering Dundee Antarctic Expedition of 1892-3) is known to have survived the demolition of the old museum in the 1950s, and by the 1970s had been adopted by the student Biology Society as their unofficial mascot. Stories have been told of the penguin propping up the bar at one of the biology students’ regular drinking dens!
Inevitably this partying lifestyle took its toll on our once-regal bird and his condition deteriorated until at some point in the 1980s the penguin was sent to the old natural history museum at Barrack Street for treatment. Somehow the penguin was then lost for some 30 years until his 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 his new home in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum.
The museum (in the Carnelley Building on Park Place) is open on Good Friday (2-4.30pm) and Easter Saturday (10am-12.30pm). Admission is free. We’ll be asking visitors to suggest a name for our penguin – with a prize for the best idea!