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A few years ago I was lucky enough to have a brief tour behind the scenes at the NHML which made it easier for me to picture some of what Fortey describes: a rickety elevator, narrow halls, dense library stacks, crowded labs, and the beautiful wooden cabinets that house the herbarium specimens collected by Hans Sloane (whose extensive cabinet of curiosities became the 18th-century foundation of the British Museum from which the NHML was split off in the 19th century).
As to public displays, the NHML has had a very different exhibition philosophy than the AMNH.
And while Fortey very justifiably decries the changes wrought in his institution that make it less of a place for eccentrics pursuing their chosen species by themselves in dark corners of the museum, the riches of the NHML and of many others are now available to people all over the world.