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Wild Space gallery to close ahead of museum’s café plans

A ‘tired’ gallery at Leicester’s flagship museum that’s dedicated to the mammals, birds and reptiles of the animal kingdom will be closing this weekend.

The Wild Space gallery, which houses around 100 taxidermied animals, will close to the public on Sunday (April 7).

Leicester Time: Wild Space gallery to close ahead of museum’s café plans
Picture: Leicester City Council

All the animals in the collection – most of which were preserved more than 100 years ago – will be taken away to be deep-cleaned, before being placed into storage, ready to form part of future displays. 

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The current Wild Space gallery has been a popular exhibit for more than 20 years, with children of all ages enjoying looking at everything from the big cats to the small rodents on display.

“But the gallery is now looking tired, and it’s time to start planning a new natural history gallery that uses modern display techniques and updated interpretation to look at the environmental challenges facing both animals and humans. 

“These plans are still under development, but the new gallery is likely to focus on key issues such as extinction and climate change. 

“The animals in our collection will now go into storage, ready to play a part in those future displays and continue to inspire interest in the natural world in a new generation of visitors.”

Leicester City Council plans to create a new café in the area currently occupied by the Wild Space display as part of a revamp of the museum.

The new café would have both indoor and outdoor seating, with a new entrance on New Walk that would mean the café could trade, even when the museum was closed.

A planning application for the works is due to be submitted this spring.

While the Wild Space gallery will permanently close on Sunday 7 April, a new family-friendly exhibition will soon be opening at Leicester Museum that also celebrates the natural world.

From Saturday 8 June, Snakes will include displays of taxidermied snakes, skeletons and models, including a rattlesnake, a green anaconda and a Burmese python. No live snakes will feature in the exhibition, which will run until September 1.