King’s College London Museum of Life Sciences

The King’s College London Museum of Life Sciences has 17 specimens from the HMS Challenger (1872-76) voyage. 

HMS Challenger and the Museum of Life Sciences

It is not known how most of the specimens arrived at the museum, but one is part of the Dendy collection. Arthur Dendy was a scientist who wrote the Preliminary Report on the Monaxonida (a kind of sponge) collected by H.M.S. Challenger.

About the King’s College London Museum of Life Sciences

The Museum of Life Sciences exists to celebrate and explain the diversity of animal and plant life in the context of the biological and health sciences.
This little-known part of the heritage of King’s College London is the first new museum in the College for over 100 years. Opened in 2009, it brings together historic biological and pharmaceutical collections from the constituent colleges that make up the modern College.The Museum is housed adjacent to the Gordon Museum on the Guy’s Site. It is used by staff and students from King’s and other academic organizations for a range of activities including practical classes, tutorials, seminars and lectures, private study by students at the College, research by students and other workers, exhibitions and the care and curation of specimens. Students are able to study plants and animals of medical importance as well as broadening their knowledge of the Life Sciences.

Wider collections

Specimens date from the early 19th century to the present and include skeletal material, fluid-preserved items, taxidermy, dried material, fossils and fossil casts, microscope and 35mm slides as well as a herbarium of plant material. They come from a variety of habitats around the world from the arctic to the tropics, from the deep sea to the Russian steppes. The material has been collected mainly for teaching and research over the history of the college.


King’s College London’s Archives and Special Collections hold the personal library of TRR Stebbing who worked on the amphipods from the voyage. There is a selection of material dealing with the Challenger expedition by those scientists and observers present.

Using Museum of Life Sciences’ data

Permission has been given to use specimen information and photos in accordance with the HMS Challenger Project IPR Statement.


Please email the Museum of Life Sciences to enquire about their collections.

A selection of the King’s College London Museum of Life Sciences’ Challenger specimens