The Butterfly House

Blue Morpho underside

There are a whole host of neo-tropical butterfly species to see, including the awe-inspiring blue morpho (with its almost luminous wings) and the owl butterfly, so called because of the resemblance it has to owl eyes on its wings. There is also a brand new puparium where pupae can grow safely and comfortably into butterflies. Of course, we work hard to keep predators out, so as many as 80% of eggs could make it through to become butterflies, whereas in the wild the figure is just 2%. The Butterfly House is a real asset of our museum and something that generates thousands of visits every month. Come along to see just what has got people all aflutter.

Please note The Butterfly House may not be open for the winter months. Please check with museum staff before travelling.

Butterfly season is May - September.



Observational BeehiveBeehive

There's a buzz around Cumberland House Natural History Museum as visitors flock to see the new observational beehive.  Up to 9,000 European Honey Bees live in a colony in the hive, producing honey combs and raising their young.

They enter and leave via a short tunnel that connects the hive to the museum gardens and its bee-friendly plants.  Visit the hive to watch the bees at work. If you're lucky you might spot the queen bee who is larger than the others and has a mark on her back.  

The bees are at their buzziest in the summer when the weather is warm.

Download our beehive activity sheet so your little ones can help the bee find its way home.


An A to Z of Natural History

The natural world is incredible! Portsmouth Museums has over 114,000 natural science specimens collected both in the south east of England and further afield.

The A to Z of Natural History display features a selection of them. From tiny insects, to fossils which are millions of years old, you will be amazed at the variety in the city's collections! 

There are several reasons for keeping and caring for natural science specimens.  They can be a valuable resource for helping us to understand the world around us, providing useful information about the flora and fauna in an area at a particular time.  Scientists can identify and analyse changes and predict trends for the future by comparing specimens from the same place collected at different times.  We hope that you enjoy this new display and that it inspires you to take a closer look at the natural world where you live.



Museum Fact Sheets

Click here to read the bat fact sheet
Click here to read the blue-tit fact sheet
Click here to read the sea mouse fact sheet
Click here to read the bee-eater fact sheet

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