Odds and quads

This 19th-century stuffed cyclopic piglet and plaster cast of a rattlesnake - brought to Scotland by Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1904 - are among the strange and sometimes shocking natural history treasures of the Bell Pettigrew Museum at the University of St Andrews.

March 29, 2012

The specialist zoological museum, which was once used for teaching, is named after James Bell Pettigrew (1834-1908), a distinguished biologist and professor of medicine at the university.

It opened its doors in September 1911 for a banquet celebrating St Andrews' 500th anniversary. Yet today many of the over 8,000 specimens are generally kept hidden from public view.

Now, however, an exhibition in the Gateway Gallery called Still Life: 100 Years of the Bell Pettigrew Museum has been curated by postgraduate students of museum and gallery studies.

This traces the story of the university's collections from the foundation of the St Andrews Literary and Philosophical Society in 1838 to the present day.

A menu from the 1911 banquet is on display alongside fossils, bones, books, pictures and new photographs of rare and endangered species.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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