The D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum
University of Dundee
Originally founded by D’Arcy in the 1880s, the University’s zoology museum has recently been moved to a new home in the historic Carnelley Building, with more specimens on show and displays about D’Arcy and the history of his extraordinary collection. The museum is open on Friday afternoons during the summer vacation, plus various additional days for special anniversary events – check the Events Calendar for details.
The Bell Pettigrew Museum
University of St Andrews
The Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History was founded, and most specimens acquired, during the heyday of the Victorian age, when collecting was all the rage. Most towns and cities had a museum similar to this one, with many specimens displayed in a relatively small space. Although this Museum has been altered and updated on occasion, it retains its original feel – the entire museum, with its original cases, and superb mosaic floor, is a valuable survivor from a bygone age.
Today the museum is used by undergraduate students, visiting school parties, as a venue for School of Biology receptions and is on open to the general public on Tuesday and Friday afternoons in the summer vacation – early June until mid September. The museum is also open on a Saturday as part of National Science Week in the Spring, and on a Sunday in September as part of Doors Open.
Visits at other times are welcomed by arrangement.
MUSA: Museum of the University of St Andrews
Founded in 1413, the University of St Andrews is Scotland’s oldest university and the third oldest university in the English-speaking world. The Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), which opened in October 2008, puts on display to the public for the first time some of the real treasures amongst the University’s collection of over 112,000 artefacts.
The museum has four galleries, a ‘Learning Loft’ and a viewing terrace with panoramic views over St Andrews Bay.
Within the Seeing and Believing Gallery at MUSA visitors can see material relating to D’Arcy Thompson and his work. This includes the typewriter on which he wrote ‘On Growth and Form’, as well his bound notes. Also on display is a bust of D’Arcy himself and his Charles Darwin medal, awarded by the Royal Society in 1946, for work of distinction in the area of evolutionary biology.
The St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum
The St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum is a small, independent museum situated in a lovely 17th century house in the heart of the St Andrew’s old fisher quarter, a stone’s throw from both the Castle and the Cathedral.
Among the many items on display is D’Arcy Thompson’s medicine chest from his student days. At the back of the museum is the beautiful D’Arcy Thompson Garden, created thanks to a donation from D’Arcy’s daughter Molly in memory of her parents and sisters, all of whom had been supporters of the Preservation Trust.
University of Dundee Archive Services
The University of Dundee Archive Services holds records relating to D’Arcy Thompson and these are mainly from his time at University College, Dundee, (1884-1917). The records include correspondence, testimonials relating to his application for the Chair of Biology at the College, departmental reports, and financial items. There are also several photographs in the collection that feature Thompson, his museum and his office.
University of St Andrews Special Collections
The Special Collections Department of the University Library holds the extensive D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson papers within its manuscript collection.
This comprises about 30 linear metres of material and contains not only items relating to marine ecology and fauna, natural history, anthropology and Thompson’s career and family but also over 30,000 items of correspondence. These letters offer a candid and sometimes humorous view of contemporary events and individuals and an insight into the man himself.
The collection also includes significant photographic holdings spanning 90 years. The muniment collection includes reminiscences of some of the students taught by him.