Natural History Museum gets huge glasshouse

The new wing of the Natural History Museum was unveiled recently, the prominent feature of which is a glasshouse built to hold cabinets containing samples from the museums insect and plant collections.

Visitors will enter the Darwin Centre, which cost £78 million, from the main elevator before being whisked up to the top floor of the new wing in a glass elevator.

The heavy use of glass – the use of which as a design feature is becoming increasingly common – means viewers will be afforded a view of the roofs of the museum as well as being able to appreciate the scale of the building in which the insect and plant specimens are housed.

Whats more, Richard Lane, director of science at the Natural History Museum, said the fact that visitors would also be able to see scientists at work would also add to the experience by showing that science is not just "boffins and test tubes".

"We have a society that views science as threatening or with some suspicion," he said.

"This experience will turn that around by highlighting the vital importance of understanding nature and the environment on both an individual and global scale."

The new wing is set to be popular – around 2,500 visitors are expected every day.