Treasures of the Natural World at the ArtScience Museum: What you should know

Travel back in time from 25 November 2017 to 29 April 2018


April 27 2018

Over the next 5 months, the ArtScience Museum seeks to time travel you back to when expeditions broke scientific grounds and made history. More than 200 notable museum objects from the Natural History Museum of London will be showcased for the first time in Southeast Asia, each of them with a story to tell.

STYLEGUIDE was there on the opening day of the exhibition. Let us introduce to you the key figures who played monumental roles in these expeditions as well as some captivating objects and collections we think you should not miss!

Sir Hans Sloane

Picture from 

Before the Natural History Museum of London was established in 1881, all natural history collections were housed at the British Museum established in 1753. The museum’s foundation collections largely belonged to Sir Hans Sloane, a physician who holds thousands of impressive collections of natural history specimens before being transferred under the care of the Natural History Museum in London, who now looks after most of his natural history specimen.

Collections from Sir Hans Sloan:

Water Buffalo Horn

Given by one of Sloane’s patient as payment for medical treatment, which became the longest horns ever recorded for a domestic water buffalo at nearly 2m a piece

Sapphire Turban Button

Picture from Natural History Museum

Sloane described it as ‘the finest deep color’, one of the best gemstone at 31.5 carats

Sir Richard Owen

Picture from Natural History Museum

As an outstanding anatomist of his time, Sir Richard Own led the field of comparative anatomy for almost 60 years, naming and describing hundreds of species. He is famous for being the first to discover the Moa, an extinct giant flightless bird and the first to use the term Dinosaur.

He took charge of the British Museum in 1856 and later spent years lobbying the British government to build the Natural History Museum in London.

Bones of the Moa

Owen predicted that the extinct bird, Moa was flightless with just a single bone, which was proved right 4 years later when more bones of the animal was discovered.

Walter Rothschild

Picture from Wikipedia

Walter Rothschild was a family member of the wealthy European banking family. Throughout his living years, he used his wealth and connections to gather some of the greatest private natural history collections of his time, before donating it to the Natural History Museum on his death in 1937.

Private collections from Walter Rothschild:

Giraffe Head

Southern Cassowary

Walter Rothschild was known to be fascinated by the Southern Cassowary and had them prepared as taxidermy when they died.

Charles Darwin

Picture from

A naturalist, geologist and biologist best known for his contribution to the science of evolution, Charles Darwin published his radical theory of evolution by natural selection in 1859 after 30 years of exploration, study and research. His theory suggest that individuals with favorable biological traits are more likely to survive and reproduce and hence, these genetic traits are passed on to their offspring in a process known as natural selection, which results in the species evolving over time. This was further supported by Alfred Russel Wallace through his research on evolution of life on Earth.

Darwin's collections:

Birds collection

From left to right: Budgerigar, Small ground finch, Chilean mockingbird, Budgerigar

Darwin’s On the Origin of Species manuscript

Aldabra Giant tortoise

One of the five tortoise brought to Mauritius under a captive breeding programme spearheaded by Darwin and other scientist. This tortoise is the oldest giant tortoise ever recorded and was around 200 years old when it died in 1918 after falling down a well.

Alfred Russel Wallace

Picture from

Alfred Russel Wallace was a self-taught naturalist. As part of his research to explain process behind evolution of life on Earth, he spent 8 years exploring the Malay Archipelago (Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia) collecting thousands of species new to science. His research led him to be credited with co-discovering the theory of evolution by natural selection with his friend, Charles Darwin.

Wallace's specimens collections from Malay Archipelago Expedition (Displayed for the first time in Singapore):

Birds Collected by Wallace

Top: Red-headed honeyeater; Bottom: Olive-backed woodpecker

Beetles collected by Wallace

Henry Walter Bates Journal

Bates travelled to the Amazon with Wallace in 1848 and kept meticulous records of the insects of the Amazon Valley

Specimens, fossils and precious stones that caught our eye today

Sabre-toothed Cat- 12,000 years old

Giant Ground Sloth- 12,000 years old

The Dodo Model

Tiger and Tasmanian Tiger

Morpho Butterflies

Claudina Butterflies

Chalk Hill Blue Butterflies


Martian Meteorite

This rare Meteorite landed on Earth in 1911 and gave evidence of life on Mars

Fossils from the Kelloways Stone Strata

Top, Left to Right: Ammonite, Ammonite. Bottom, Left to Right: Bivalve Molluscs, Ammonite, Brachiopod

It was really tough to capture the following precious stones on camera due to poor lighting and strict photography rules, so we found some pictures of them from around the web instead:

Koh-i-Noor Diamond

Picture from Natural History Museum

Beryl, Variety Morganite

Picture from gettyimages 

Perfect in pink at 598 carat, named after JP Morgan

Head on down to the ArtScience Museum today to see more of these historical treasures. Follow us on our instagram @styleguidesg for live updates of our articles and events.

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