Darwin Centre opens to the public (UK)

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Millions of plant and animal specimens will go on display in giant eight-storey cocoon tomorrow as the Natural History Museum's new £78m Darwin Centre opens its doors to the public.

Up to 2,500 people a day will also be able to see the museum's scientists in action, working in once-concealed hi-tech laboratories and among 3.3 kilometres of cabinets.

Some of the glass-fronted laboratories will be linked by intercom so visitors can quiz the experts about what they are doing.

The opening celebrations were attended Prince William and Sir David Attenborough. "The Natural History Museum and the dedicated people who work here are at the very forefront of research, seeking out through study of the natural world the answers to the great questions of our age," the prince said.

"Its collections, and what it achieves in the areas of research and education make it – quite simply – the envy of the world. This magnificent new wing will further enhance the museum's peerless reputation."..

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