Located in an old mansion in the centre of Moscow, the K. A. Timiryazev Biology MuseumRussian: Biologicheskiy muzey im. K.A. Timiryazeva or Биологический музей им. К.А. Тимирязева was founded in 1922 by leading biology specialist Boris Zavadovsky. It is in this museum that several branches of biology were introduced to the public in museum format; these include plant, animal and human physiology, genetics, ecology and the theory of evolution.
Today, the museum’s collection contains approximately 75,000 items and comprises many unique exhibits. Of special interest are the extensive collection of fake mushrooms, different varieties of fruit and berries, herbaria, stuffed birds and sculptured anthropological reconstructions. In addition to scientific exhibits, the Biological Museum displays works of art dedicated to nature and those who study it. These works include paintings, graphics and sculptures. New items brought by museum employees from their travels are added to the collection all the time.
With an exhibition area of about 900 square metres, the Biology Museum is five times smaller than the State Darwin MuseumRussian: Darvinovskiy muzey or Дарвиновский музей, which is based on a similar concept. However its size is a positive thing, particularly if you are coming for a visit with children. This museum features special interactive itineraries that will be especially exciting to school-aged children.
Overall, the museum’s approach to exhibitions is rather traditional, and most of the exhibition has not been updated for a long time. The museum’s official website allows visitors to have a virtual tour of the museum, which gives them an idea of what to expect when they come.
The rooms are devoted to distinct themes. For example, Room 1 has glass cases displaying various ecosystems that coexist with man such as “A Mountain Gorge”, “Forests and Swamps” and “An Urban Forest Park”. The room also features glass cases which provide information about Russia’s wildlife reserves and unique species of flora and fauna.
The next three rooms hold exhibitions dedicated to a rich variety of plant and animal life on Earth. Special attention is given to traits particular to each group’s constitution. The vertebrates in the room’s glass cases are grouped by habitat (forest, water, soil, open areas), demonstrating their fitness for a specific natural habitat.
Rooms 5 to 9 are devoted to physiology. The exhibition compares the digestive, nervous and endocrine systems of man and animals and introduces visitors to the ins and outs of metabolic processes. One of the rooms is entirely dedicated to the circulatory system. Room 9 displays scientific instruments and an interactive exhibition describing the structure of the cell and the living organism; it provides a wealth of information about plants and human anatomy.
The next room gives visitors an insight into the world of plants, including seeds, various inflorescences and the root system. The room is decorated with photographs of the world’s most unusual plants and it also contains a collection of living plants. Here, you can also learn more about which plants are edible.
The next two rooms provide an overview of the theory of evolution, present the main ideas of this theory and explain the reasons for changes in different species and the process of natural selection.
The room dedicated to the underwater world is of particular interest, with exhibits placed in glass balls filled with a special solution preserving the exhibits’ bright colours. The latter include coral reef and tropical freshwater fish as well as popular aquarium fish. The exhibition features an aquarium with living freshwater fish and a terrarium with sea turtles.
The last rooms focus on the basics of genetics and inform visitors about inheritance patterns and gene interaction. The last room has the most up-to-date design and highlights the evolution of life on Earth. Here you will see an array of fossils, extinct plant and animal species and explore the various stages of evolution of different organisms.
The museum maintains the traditions established by its founder, Boris Zavadovsky, and its target audience are schoolchildren and students. The museum offers visitors themed excursions and practical experience of 60 topics, which vary depending on the age of the visitors. Museum employees have developed interactive program, quests and master classes for children and families. Biology study groups and the children’s research lab are open to visitors, and hands-on training sessions for schoolchildren are held in the museum’s exhibition halls. Every year, the museum hosts approximately 50 exhibitions devoted to specific collections. Scientific research is also conducted at the museum on an ongoing basis.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com