For Philip Blenkinsop
“Prior to establishment of the Natural History Museum, scientific expeditions principally made by scientists of developed nations collected a large number of invaluable biological specimens, most of which are still deposited in foreign institutes or personal collections. This made it difficult for Nepalese scientists and any other individuals interested in wildlife or nature to access the information on the natural inheritance of their own country. To avoid such situation, the need of an independent Nepali natural history museum was recognized. The Natural History Museum (NHM) was established un 1975 under the aegis of the Tribhuvan University. Beginning with a few specimens of birds and butterflies, the museum has hitherto accumulated mire than 50,000 biological specimens. The collections includes common to rare, endangered or endemic species, and a molar tooth of a primitive hominoid, Shivapithecus, that is assumed to be 8-10 millions year old.
The recorded number of principal zoological specimens are: butterflies & moths (14,843), beetles (4,142), dragonflies (1,464), other insects (1,604), lower chordates (6), fish (890), amphibians (107), reptiles (390), birds (1194), mammals (225), skeletons (22), fossils and animal body parts (964), and plastic clay models and rock and mineral. Botanical and mycological specimens are: Algae (124), fungi and mushrooms (2,320), lichens (61), bryophytes (1,124), pteridophytes (507), gymnosperms (163) et angiosperms (5,034).
The museum desires to expand its physical facilities for properly accommodating the growing collections and creating systematic exhibition. Some museum activities have been supported by many foreign institutes or individuals, including JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). Its Seniors Volunteers have been working in the museum since 2003.
The main role of this museum is to serve a research and educational facility for both Nepali and foreign researchers. Other objective of the museum is to offer knowledge about the value of Nepal’s biological resources to the general public. The museum is also aiming to connect the Nepali people with their own country’s natural history, and to deliver and urgent message that the Nepalese themselves are trustees of this fragile natural heritage. Hopefully, all visitors leave the museum, acquiring a new sense of conservation and sustainable utilization of Nepal’s precious natural resources.”
Excerpt from the Natural History Museum of Kathmandu brochure.