Snake vs cyclops

Thursday 15 March 2012

An exhibition commemorating the centenary of the Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History will open to the public this weekend at the University of St Andrews’ Gateway Gallery.

From Saturday 17 March all are welcome to come and marvel at the strange, exotic and shocking treasures of natural history stored within the Bell Pettigrew collection – many of which are normally hidden from public view. These include wonders such as a stuffed cyclopic piglet from the 19th century and the plaster cast of rattlesnake from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show’s 1904 tour of Scotland. An American soldier, bison hunter and showman – Buffalo Bill was one of the most colourful characters to come out of the Old West and famous for his touring cowboy exhibitions.

The ‘Still Life: 100 years of the Bell Pettigrew Museum’ exhibition aims to tell the story of the University’s collections from the foundation of the St Andrews Literary and Philosophical Society in 1838, to the present day. Bones, fossils, books, pictures, photographs and diagrams are all part of the narrative.

The Bell Pettigrew Museum’s official birthday is 14 September 1911, when the University celebrated its 500th anniversary. Its doors first opened to host the Quincentenary banquet. Today, as the University celebrates its 600th anniversary, the menu from that event will also be on display.

The exhibition also provides an opportunity to view photographic works by Sean Dooley, of Cellardyke, who is currently working on a project based on rare and endangered species.

Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen: all are free to attend the exhibition which will run from 17 March to 19 May, Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday: 12 noon-4pm.

Notes to News Editors

Photos of the launch event will be available from Kirke Kook on 07791 700 978.

Photos of the exhibits are available from the Press Office on 01334 462 167

The Bell Pettigrew is a specialised zoological museum, with a collection of 8,200 specimens. It is a rare survival of a Victorian teaching museum, and is named after James Bell Pettigrew (1834-1908), a distinguished biologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of St Andrews.

The Gateway Galleries is the temporary exhibition venue for the University of St Andrews Museum Collections Unit. It hosts four exhibitions per year, drawing on the University’s and other collections.

The exhibition is sponsored by the St Andrews Community Council 200 Club.

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