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Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History is the natural history museum in Bucharest, with a patrimony of over 2 million specimens.
HistoryThe museum was born in 1834, at the initiative of Mihalache Ghica - the brother of Alexandru Ghica, who was ruler of Wallachia at the time. He donated important collections of fossils, minerals, Greek and Roman coins, birds and fish, as well as numerous art pieces. Although originally conceived as a natural history cabinet, the museum took on a mixed character, sheltering antiques, old paintings, and natural curiosities. The first head of the zoology and mineralogy section was Carol Wallenstein. In this time, the museum bore a predominantly didactic character. His successor, Carlo Ferrerati, contributed substantially to the collections, through donations and acquisitions. The most important donations were received from Hilarie Mitrea, to whom the museum also owes the discovery of the most important exhibit, the Deinotherium gigantissimum skeleton, one of the most unique skeletons in the world.
The actual building was projected and built at the efforts of Dr. Grigore Antipa, head of the museum during 1893-1944. The scientist brought a great contribution to the museum, with important pieces from all over the world.
Between the two wars, the museum continued to develop, and activity of scientific research bloomed between 1964 and 1988, with specialists taking part in worldwide expeditions from Brazil to Indonesia.
After a significant modernization in 2009, the museum continues to focus on the extension of the galleries and the scientific research.
ExhibitionsCurrently, the scientific patrimony of the museum comprises of about 2 million specimens of actual and fossil species from all over the world, grouped in 132 collections of geology, anthropology, ethnography, and compared anatomy.
The geology collection contains 4,425 samples grouped in minerals, rocks, gems, and meteorites from all parts of the world, including Antarctica. The most spectacular samples in terms of shape, color, and size from the native elements, sulfurs and salts, oxides and carbonates are exposed in the Hall of Minerals and Rocks at the second level.
The paleontology collection contains 4,768 pieces from all groups of animals. Beside the contribution brought by Dr. Antipa, an important role in this collection has been played by Leonid Apostol, in the wake of his research. This is also the section where the Deinotherium gigantissimum skeleton can be observed. Unique in the world, the specimen has been discovered in 1890 by Gregoriu Ştefănescu in Mânzaţi. Other notable pieces are the mastodon skeleton, giant deer, cave bear and mammal with carapace.
The compared anatomy collection contains around 1,600 pieces representing skeletons, systems and organs, embryos, and the development of certain species of animals kept in formaldehyde.
The most notable piece of this collection is the complete skeleton of Megaptera novaeangliae, the long-winged whale. The ethnography and anthropology collections currently contain 2,059 pieces from various regions of the globe, some of which are impossible to provide today, such as the Zanza heads or the Fardo mummies.
The reptile collection contains particularly valuable specimens, such as the Sand Boa, rare crocodile species, such as the Cuban Crocodile, and extremely rare turtles: the Giant Turtle of Aldabra (Indian Ocean) and Testudo kleinmanni.
The ichthyology collection comprises of more than 20,000 specimens of fish, out of which exotic sturgeons are remarkable, such as Pseudoscaphirhynchus kaufmanni, from Amudaria in Central Asia and Acipenser sinensis from Chinese waters.
The crustacean collections are the most important in Romania by the numbers: 173,000 specimens or more than 1,500 species from the polar and tropical regions.
The bird collection contains 11,500 specimens and they can be admired both conserved and naturalized. Among the most precious exhibits, there are 2 specimens, a male and a female of Tetrao urogallus rudolfi, and over 120 species of the worldwide fauna, which are on the red list.
The cheliceratae collection sums around 57000 specimens, and the biggest part is the spider collection (97%), while the rest are scorpions, mites, and limuli.
When to VisitThe museum is open every day of the week except Monday, from 10 AM to 8 PM during summer (April - October), and from 10 AM to 6 PM during winter (November - March). The price of a ticket is 20 RON ($5.00) ( €5 ($5.18)) for adults, 10 RON ($2.50) ( €2 ($2.30)) for seniors, and 5 RON ($1.25) ( €1 ($1.15)) for students. Gratuity is granted for: children under 7, pupils during holidays, and disabled persons.
How to Get ThereTo reach the museum, take the subway to Victoriei station, or buses 205, 300, 381, 783, to the same station. Taxis in Bucharest are rather cheap, and Victoriei is considered a central area, so this is probably the best way.
Other AttractionsThe Antipa Museum is located right next to the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, so they can be visited one after another. Down Victoriei Lane (Calea Victoriei), the Revolution Square is guarded by the National Art Museum (former Royal Palace) on one end, and the Romanian Athenaeum on another.
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Author: aelumag. Last updated: Dec 12, 2014