Edward Donovan (1768 - 1837)

Donovan was the founder of the London Museum and Institute of Natural History, which housed his large natural history collection. Born in Cork, Ireland, Donovan was an avid collector of natural history specimens purchased mainly at auctions of specimens from voyages of exploration. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Wernerian Natural History Society which gave him access to the best collections and libraries in London. It was quite common for private collectors to open small public museums, and in 1807 he founded the London Museum and Institute of Natural History. This exhibited several hundred cases of world birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, molluscs, insects, corals and other invertebrates and botanical specimens and other exotica alongside his British collections.

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