basketcrossdownloademailerrorfacebookgoogleplushomeleftnavphonerightsearchsubnavsuccessticktwitteryoutube
Sign in

Hancock Museum Collection

People have been donating animal, plant and mineral specimens and ethnographic material to the Society for 200 years with the result that we now have an internationally important and fascinating collection of half a million items. This includes dinosaur fossils, the bones, skins or preserved specimens of birds, mammals, and invertebrates, plants, minerals, Egyptian mummies and ethnographic items from around the world.

GNM: Hancock © Jane Brown

Search our museum collection online

Many items from the Society’s collection are on display to the public in the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle upon Tyne but a great many more are held in a special storage facility nearby in Newcastle’s Discovery Museum, where they can be accessed for research purposes by prior appointment.

To search an online catalogue of our collections click here or follow the links below to find out more about some of our amazing items:

Sparkie Williams the World Famous Talking Budgerigar (1954-1962)

Sparkie became famous after winning a speaking bird contest in 1958. He appeared on TV, radio, and in the press and even made his own hit records! After his death he was preserved and mounted and is one of the Great North Museum: Hancock's most treasured items. The heart-warming story of Sparkie and his owner Mattie Williams continues to fascinate the public and inspire artists and writers.

View

The Hancock Mermaid

Look out for our Mermaid in the Explore! Gallery of the Great North Museum: Hancock she’s hiding in one of the specimen drawers. This rather gruesome looking curiosity is the […]

View

John Hancock’s ‘Monster Crab’ – The Giant Japanese Spider Crab

One of the most impressive specimens on display in the Great North Museum: Hancock is the Giant Japanese Spider Crab, which is over 120 years old.

View

Wilson's I'iwi

The intriguing story behind a small red stuffed bird from Hawaii by Dan Gordon (the museum's Keeper of Biology).

View

The Blaschka Glass Models of Sea Anemones

An outstanding collection of exquisitely detailed glass models of sea anemones.

View

The Great Auk (Alca Impennis)

The Great Auk, a flightless auk of the northern seas, was hunted to extinction; the last two birds of the species, it is alleged, were killed on Eldey Island, near […]

View

Newcastle Mummies

The Natural History Society of Northumbria has two significant mummies in its Egyptian collections. The exquisitely decorated and intact mummy of Bakt-en-Hor (previously Bakt-hor-nekht) and the unwrapped 22nd dynasty mummy of Irtyru (previously Irt-irw), both from the ancient city of Thebes.

View

The Andean Condor

One of the most surprising, remarkable, and it has to be said, rather unlikely stories associated with the Hancock Museum, is that of our female Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus).

View

The Crystal Palace Pterodactyl

Hidden away in a display case in the Fossil Stories room of the Great North Museum: Hancock is a small model which could so easily be overlooked but this intriguing mid 19th century object has an amazing story to tell.

View

Eric the Polar Bear

Eric, the Polar Bear, is one of our oldest and most treasured specimens and he can still be seen on display in the Living Planet Gallery of the Great North Museum: Hancock.

View

The Hawaiian Feathered God Head

There is a fascinating wickerwork head on display in our World Cultures Gallery, a rare example of the indigenous religious culture in Hawaii. Its ferocious features where designed to intimidate any invading warriors intent on gaining new territory from the resident tribe.

View

Egyptology Collection

The majority of the NHSN’s ancient Egyptian collection derives from donations by 19th century private collectors, including two mummies, and from subscription to early 20th century excavations conducted by the […]

View

Online collection search

Search our online catalogue to find out what amazing items we have in our collection

View

The Letters of Sir Flinders Petrie in the Museum Archives

The Whitby Ichthyosaur

Rocks, minerals & fossils (Geofinder)

In the late 1950s the Society could no longer afford to run the Hancock Museum and adequately care for our collection and so Newcastle University kindly agreed to lease these from us on a 99 year lease. The University is now responsible for the curation and care of our collection. Since the 1990s they have contracted Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) to carry out this work on their behalf.

If you would like to donate any items to the museum collection or if you are interested in researching any items in our collection please contact TWAM on 0191 208 6784 or email dan.gordon@twmuseums.org.uk