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The Naturalis museum in Leiden will present a selection of natural history objects from the collection of the Zoological Museum Amsterdam from Friday, 14 October 2011. The collection featuring stuffed animals, animal skeletons and specimens in alcohol was until recently managed by the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

The Naturalis museum in Leiden will present a selection of natural history objects from the collection of the Zoological Museum Amsterdam from Friday, 14 October 2011. The exhibition entitled Naturalia: from fairground attraction to scientific object includes animals from scientific expeditions and Artis Zoo.

The collection featuring stuffed animals, animal skeletons and specimens in alcohol was until recently managed by the University of Amsterdam (UvA). This year, a total of 40,000 stuffed mammals, 65,000 birds, 450,000 shells and 8 million insects will be moved from the Zoological Museum Amsterdam to Natruralis in Leiden. The exhibition marks the arrival of the Amsterdam collection in Leiden.

Elephant Jack and Napoleon's lion

The earliest exhibits on show here are from a 19th-century travelling menagerie. More recent exhibits come from scientific expeditions and Artis Zoo. Each item in the exhibition tells a story. Elephant Jack, for example, was one of the most popular animals at Artis after being acquired in 1839. However, he constantly tried to demolish his home and flee, and was eventually shot by police during an attempted escape in 1849. Visitors can also see the lion from the menagerie of Lodewijk Napoleon, the Frenchman who was made king of Holland in 1806 by his brother Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Naturalia exhibition is divided into three sections: Cabinets and Menageries, Natura Artis Magistra and Collected for Science. Together, they provide an overview of how natural history collecting has developed over time. Not only has the purpose of collecting changed; the way collectors look at natural history has also changed.