The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum is named after Sir Alfred Herbert, a local industrialist who founded Alfred Herbert Limited, at one time the world’s largest machine toolmaking company.
Sir Alfred donated £200,000 to the City of Coventry to pay for the construction of an Art Gallery and Museum. Sadly Sir Alfred did not live to see the Art Gallery and Museum opened and on 9th March 1960. Lady Herbert, his third wife, declared the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum open.
In October 2008 the Herbert completed a major redevelopment which saw eight new permanent galleries, new temporary exhibition spaces and the History Centre (a combination of City Archives and Local Studies Library) open. We also asked members of the public to choose their favourite object or work of art in the Herbert. Their choices are on display in an exhibition called “Connected”.
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum holds around 185,000 specimens with main strengths in:
- Entomology (approx 140,000);
- Bird eggs (approx 10,000: 9th largest public collection in the UK); and
- World molluscs (approx 25,000).
We also hold a small number of cased Spicer fish, rocks and minerals, palaeontology, taxidermy, skeletal material, as well as a collection from HM Revenue & Customs of illegally imported animal material.
Of particular note in the collections are:
- A small piece of the Barwell meteorite which landed in Leicestershire in 1965 and is on display in Connected;
- An albino blackbird, also in Connected; and
- A Northern Oriole which was found in Coventry.
Through his work as an archaeologist Paul has excellent knowledge of identifying animal bones. He, along with Ali, are always happy to provide access to the collections with prior arrangement.
Collection Database: approximately two-thirds of the Natural History Collection (some 120,000 specimens) have been inputted onto our database. This is possibly the greatest number of data-based biology specimens of any UK Museum. Coventry Collections contains a searchable version of this database.
A permanent Natural History gallery, Elements, opened in 2008. This is an aesthetic celebration of nature that combines high tech with collection items to produce a highly sensory experience for the visitor. The exhibition specifically targets people with disabilities and special needs and is also very popular with our family audience.
Our open store, What’s in Store, displays a range of natural history items, including taxidermy, skeletal material and the Spicer fish cases.
Paul Thompson, Keeper of Collections (Archaeology & Natural History)
t: 02476 29 4761 e: email@example.com
Ali Wells, Keeper of Collections (Social History & Natural History)
t: 02476 29 4763 e: firstname.lastname@example.org