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The Natural History Museum at Tring

It was at Tring Park that Lionel Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild (1868-1937) created his famous museum of natural history. His interest began when he was a child, collecting butterflies, and as a child, Walter knew exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up, announcing at the age of seven, 'Mama, Papa, I am going to make a museum...'. By the time he was ten, Walter had enough natural history objects to start his first museum, in a garden shed.

Before long, Walter's insect and bird collections were so large they had to be stored in rented rooms and sheds around Tring. Then in 1889, his father gave him some land on the outskirts of Tring Park as a 21st birthday present. Two small cottages were built, one to house his books and insect collection, the other for a caretaker. Behind these was a much larger building, which would contain Lord Rothschild's collection of mounted specimens. This was the beginning of his zoological Museum, which opened to the public in 1892. Walter bequeathed his museum and his collections to the British Museum. Known today as the Natural History Museum at Tring, the museum celebrates Walter's passion for the natural world.

Regretfully, The Rothschild Archive London holds no records of Walter's museum, or his scientific research and correspondence. Much of the Museum archive was destroyed in the 1960s by the British Museum, who in creating a new ornithological department, cleared them from the basement where they were stored. Miriam Rothschild records that '...ledgers, letters and diaries, boot boxes full of papers and boxes of photographs' were destroyed by burning. Some of Walter's correspondence can be found in the collections of Natural History Museum at Tring.

The Natural History Museum at Tring, exhibition material, 1992-2007

000/419, 000/1849, 000/1893 , 2 folders; 2 CDs

Packs of postcards produced by the Museum, including a set of nine postcards specially selected to commemorate the Centenary of The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum Tring 1892-1992 in 1892; Children's Activity sheet produced by the Museum; Tourist maps of Tring and guidebook.Poster for exhibition 'Walter Rothschild: The man, the Museum and the Menagerie' held at The Natural History Museum, Tring, 23 July-2 December 2007 with images of Walter Rothschild and the Museum at Tring. CDs of images from the exhibition.

The Natural History Museum at Tring, marketing materials, 2008

000/1955, 2 items

Natural History Museum 'The Rothschild family and the Museum' leaflet for 2008 exhibition. 

The Natural History Museum at Tring: secondary sources, 2006

000/1655, 1 item

Article: ‘My Museum The Walter Rothschild Zoolological Museum, Tring’ by Katrina Cook: in Taxidermist, volume 33, 2006.