St Publius Square, Mdina , Malta
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9:00 - 17:00
- Adults: € 5.00
- Seniors: € 3.50
- Children: € 2.50
The National museum of Natural History its 18th century palace called Vilhena Palace, dates from the 1720's and was the former home of Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena. was created in the French Baroque style and also once housed the law courts, you will find a number of cells to be found inside.
The Palace been served as a hospital during the cholera outbreak in 1837 as a sanatorium for British troops in 1860's and a hospital for tuberculosis in the early 20th century.
During the World War II the palace sustained serious bomb damage. Even though it had been intended to use it as a museum in early 1960's but was not until 1973 when its been repaired, renovated and inaugurated as a National Museum of Natural History.
National Museum of Natural History is now the official repository of biological specimens and contains several collections. These include more than 10,000 rocks and mineral samples, 3,500 birds, bird's eggs, and nests, 200 mammals and 200 fish species as well as thousands of local and exotic shells and insects and a very impressive fossil collection.
Highlights include inside a selection dedicated to Malta's national bird, blue rock thrush, and it's national plant Maltese Centaury.
Don't miss the ornithology hall in here there are some excellent dioramas. Look for the collection of local shelled and exotic animals ( where the most notable item is the large, flying squid that was washed ashore in 1989 at St Paul's Bay.
There are areas dedicated to paleontology and the remains of the Maltese quaternary period, include a tusk of Pygmy elephant, the teeth of a Pigmy hippopotamus, and a lower jaw of a giant dormouse.
You'll see displays dedicated to reptiles and several local and exotic species of lizards, snakes, and turtles and a small hall full of exhibits that come from marine ecosystems.