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Museum of Zoology appoints new director

Professor Rebecca Kilner has been appointed as director of the Museum of Zoology.

Professor Rebecca Kilner Picture: University of Cambridge (17401005)
Professor Rebecca Kilner Picture: University of Cambridge (17401005)

The announcement follows the retirement of Professor Paul Brakefield.

Prof Kilner will take up the post on October 1 and joins the museum at a key point in its development as it builds on last year’s relaunch.

Prof Kilner, who is professor of evolutionary biology within the department of zoology at the University of Cambridge, said: “I feel privileged to start this new role at such an exciting time for the Museum. Here in Cambridge we are incredibly lucky to have one of the largest and most important natural history collections in the UK.

“The museum’s new galleries and displays showcase the finest parts of these collections and generate excitement and interest amongst all our visitors.

“The museum is a treasure trove, inspiring research into the way that the natural world evolves and functions yet reminding us of our responsibilities to conserve these wonders against the threats of climate change and habitat destruction.

“The museum is amazing and I am proud to become a part of the team.”

The Museum of Zoology re-opened in 2018, after a five-year, £4.1million re-development.

It holds more than two million specimens, including giants such as whales, elephants, giraffe, an ice-age giant ground sloth, as well as many insects, birds, fish, molluscs and corals.

Some specimens were collected by Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle voyage and the museum also displays one of the world’s most complete dodo skeletons.

A major new permanent display of reptiles including birds opened during summer 2019, this is the largest addition to the Museum’s galleries since re-opening.

Professor Brakefield said “I am delighted to hand over this prestigious role to Professor Kilner. It has been an honour to have been director of the museum throughout its fantastic re-development, and a pleasure to work alongside a dedicated team of people who have worked tirelessly to create the new museum we have today.

He continued: “Visitor numbers in the first year of over 150,000 have significantly exceeded the targets that were set, and feedback has been extremely positive. I couldn't be more confident that Rebecca will take the Museum forward with momentum and passion.

“She is the perfect person to make the most of the museum's core position within the new David Attenborough Building in central Cambridge that is dedicated to conserving biodiversity for future generations. I look forward very much to seeing how this exciting and highly relevant museum evolves over the coming years.”

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