Sir David Attenborough will open city centre’s new museum

SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH  AT THE ONLY IMAX CINEMA IN BRITAIN,  AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM AND TELEVISION IN BRADFORD FOR THE EUROPEAN PREMIERE OF HIS WILDLIFE FILM ' SURVIVAL ISLAND ' .
SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH AT THE ONLY IMAX CINEMA IN BRITAIN, AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM AND TELEVISION IN BRADFORD FOR THE EUROPEAN PREMIERE OF HIS WILDLIFE FILM ' SURVIVAL ISLAND ' .
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National treasure Sir David Attenborough will visit the city next month to cut the ribbon on the new museum at Wakefield One.

Sir David has often spoken of his admiration for famous explorer and naturalist and conservationist Charles Waterton, who was born and buried at Walton Hall.

And the broadcaster will visit on Saturday, March 9, to officially open the new museum on Burton Street.

Sir David, who has had the nation gripped already this year with his latest wildlife series Africa, will drop in just after 1pm to speak and sign books for about an hour.

Wakefield Council said more details about his visit would be revealed shortly.

Sir David, 86, has been the face and voice of natural history throughout a 60-year broadcasting career and has won several awards for conservation projects he has spearheaded around the world.

His books, most of which correspond with his popular television projects, have also inspired millions of people.

In 2011 he based one of his Life Stories shows on BBC Radio 4 on Waterton, who is credited for setting up the world’s first nature reserve in the grounds of Walton Hall.

Sir David described Waterton as “one of the first people anywhere to recognise not only that the natural world was of great importance but that it needed protection as humanity made more and more demands on it”.

And Waterton’s discoveries and famous taxidermy projects play a large role in the new museum’s focus on Wakefield’s history.

A stuffed caiman crocodile, which he famously captured on one of his trips to South America, is exhibited in the floor of the museum.

It is one of several specimens of animals and plants that Waterton brought home and preserved from visits to Guyana about 200 years ago.

The museum is on the lower ground floor of the new £31m building, below the library which was officially opened by Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker in November.

It is already open to visitors - for more information about the museum’s collections, visit www.wakefield
museumcollections.org.uk