Dry Storeroom No. 1


One entrance to the Other Museum stands behind the massive skeleton of the giant ground sloth. Another is opposite the crocodiles. For the building that houses the public galleries of London’s Natural History Museum also houses an entirely different museum — a working museum, where the aim isn’t public edification or entertainment but the care, cataloging and description of millions of different life-forms, both extinct and extant, as well as thousands of different minerals. An inventory of the planet.

The offices, laboratories, libraries and vast storerooms of the Other Museum are wrapped around the public galleries like ivy on a fence. The storerooms house about 80 million specimens, from whale skeletons and jars of mites to stacks of pressed flowers and meteorites. The offices house a collection of — judging by Richard Fortey’s entertaining memoir, “Dry Storeroom No. 1” — extremely eccentric scholars.

more from the NY Times here.