A World of Wonder

Visit Portsmouth Museums’ display of weird and wonderful objects from the natural history collections in the Cascades Shopping Centre from 24 October.

In the 19th century, scientists and explorers travelled the world collecting new and exciting wildlife.

Their finds were purchased by museums and collectors, but a growing passion for natural history saw many sold as curiosities to the general public.

This passion led to a collecting mania for plants, birds, butterflies, shells and fossils, which were used to decorate family homes.

Many of the objects on display were collected by HLF Guermonprez of Bognor Regis, who bought exotic wildlife from auctions at the end of the 19th century to create his own private museum. Portsmouth Museums now hold the Guermonprez Collection in Trust.

Today, museums only accept natural history objects that comply with national and international wildlife laws.

The shop window display has been designed by Athena Jane Churchill, a community artist, who has created beautiful bespoke display units which have been embellished with images of natural history illustrations by HLF Guermonprez and his sister Harriet.

Members of the public are being asked to add to the display by downloading a butterfly or moth worksheet to decorate. Finished results will be displayed in one of the shop windows alongside butterflies and moths from the natural history collections.

Details of how to make a butterfly or a moth can be found in our Activities pages.

You can download a guide to each window display here:
Window 1
Window 2
Window 3
Window 4
Window 5