Cole Museum of Zoology

I’ve seen on social media a few times recently some interesting and unusual places to visit in Reading. One of those is the Cole Museum of Zoology in the University of Reading so I decided to pay it a visit.

I’d seen photographs of the museum, well basically the same photo which is also similar to the one above, but that didn’t really give me much to go on in terms of what to expect. So when I arrived I was surprised at how small it was. It is a single room which really is just the entrance place to the department that it is housed in.

There were a number of cabinets around the walls of the space in which specimens were grouped by genus, so reptiles, small mammals etc. And when I say specimens I mean skeletens and some really rather gruesome animals in jars. I found some of these quite stomach churning and a little bit depressing.

All these specimens were well labelled and there were larger information boards with details about the species that were collected together in the cabinet but by and large you were left to your own imagination.

There was surprisingly little information on Cole himself, the man that founded the museum and, in fact, there is very little on him on his Wikipedia page too but he was the first Professor of Zoology at the University of Reading. His lasting legacy is that a course in zoology is still taught at the university.

The museum is an interesting diversion that is worth a visit if you are into pickled animals or are in the area as it won’t keep you amused for too long.

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