The largest museum collection of domestic dogs in the UK are being prepared for a clean at the Natural History Museum at Tring today.
A Tibetan mastiff, brought from Tibet by King George V.
The 88 dogs are not alive, but are stuffed specimens that have been on display at the Museum in Hertfordshire since the 1960s.
They are joining a model moa, dozens of snakes, kangaroos, a panda and several giant tortoises as well as hundreds of other specimens for cleaning and conservation.
The Museum was awarded an £87K grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation for the work to be carried out.
The renovation will also see a complete overhaul of the display cases including adding and changing the colour, labels, signage and lighting in order to make information about the animals more accessible and retain the historic character of Walter Rothschild's important displays.
Gallery 6 and part of Gallery 5 will be temporarily closed but visitors will be able to watch work in progress through viewing windows in Gallery 5. There will also be updates on progress on information boards and on the Museum's website.
Model of a moa
'I am delighted that work has begun at Tring to preserve this intriguing collection of Victorian Zoology as it will ensure that thousands more visitors will get a fascinating insight into the animal kingdom,' says Culture Minister Margaret Hodge.
'Museums are a wonderful way to learn about the past, exploring different cultures, species and civilisations. It is important that the UK's collections are protected and preserved so that future generations will be able to feed their imaginations with relics from times gone by.'
The work will be completed by the end of 2008.