UK Institution Donates Nearly 20,000-Bird Collection To Austrian Museum

A British research and charity institution has donated its enormous bird specimen collection to one of the leading natural history museums of Central Europe.

The Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM) has announced that it received the Harrison Institute Bird Collection – a Kent-based charity – consisting of 19,000 birds of 889 different species.

The NHM’s experts will now examine and digitalise the extensive compilation, according to Irina Kubadinow, a spokeswoman for the tradition-rich Austrian museum.

Kubadinow praised the Harrison Institute’s donation as “unique.”

She said: “The donation of the Harrison Bird Collection to the NHM Vienna as an institutional exchange is unique as far as the number of objects and its geographical extent are concerned. It will be examined, digitalised and looked after by our team of experts and professionals.”

Most of the collection’s objects derive from Britain, according to the spokeswoman.

However, the Harrison Bird Collection also features birds from habitats in several European countries including Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany. Furthermore, it consists of birds from the Falkland Islands, the Antarctic, Japan, the United States and the Middle East.

The collection was mainly established by James Harrison (1892-1971) – a physician and ornithologist – and his son Jeffrey Harrison (1922-1978).

Image shows the Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops), undated photo. The British Harrison Institute in Sevenoaks, England will donated 19,000 birds to the Natural History Museum Vienna in Austria on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Robbie Bright/Newsflash)

Kubadinow said: “The bird collection of the NHM Vienna is one of the most renowned in the world. It has been the starting point for numerous scientific investigations – from fundamental research to studies focusing on the protection of habitats.”

The Viennese museum’s internationally-orientated ornithological collection consists of 130,000 birds of which many have become extinct.

A fundraising dinner will be held at the NHM on the 3rd November to support the museum’s ornithological digitalisation and research ventures.

The Harrison Institute is a UK-registered charity headquartered in Sevenoaks, Kent. Founded in 1930, it promotes the protection of the environment and biodiversity conservation through cooperation with local communities and research in Britain and all over the world.

The NHM Vienna is one of Austria’s largest non-university research institutions. Its staff features 60 scientists.

The museum – which first opened in 1898 – registered around 841,000 visitors in 2019.

More than 100,000 objects are on display in the museum’s 39 exhibition rooms.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Thomas HochwarterSub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash

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