We are now open!

Please see our Visit Us pages for the latest information, and remember that group visits must be booked in advance!

The Cole Museum is centred at the heart of a working University building, and we must ask our visitors to be considerate of our staff and researchers working on the upper floors by keeping noise levels to a minimum. We regret that, as a result, the museum is not suitable for children under the age of 5.

About the museum

The Cole Museum of Zoology is owned and managed by the University of Reading

It was established by Professor Francis Cole in 1906 when the University was known as University College Reading. The Cole Museum of Zoology represents a snapshot of animal diversity in the early 20th century and has always been used to teach zoology and comparative anatomy. The Museum is home to thousands of specimens of great zoological significance, including taxidermy, skeletons, histological preparations, fluid-preserved dissections, fossil material, casts, and some superb models of developmental stages and extinct animals.

Cole Museum Highlights

Introducing some of our flagship specimens who you must meet when you come to visit us!

Virtual Museum

Bringing the Cole Museum to you... We are building a virtual Cole Museum to give you an advance look at what the new displays will be about when we open our brand new museum. Explore the diversity of animal life from home!   The Virtual Museum is a work in progress. Case 2: Lophotrochozoa This [...]


About Our Collections Francis Joseph Cole was appointed to ‘University College Reading’ in 1906 and was soon promoted to the position of Professor of Zoology. A passionate and creative collector of animal specimens he set to work on a museum collection using a variety of imaginative means. He encouraged donations from overseas visitors and even [...]

The Cole Museum of Zoology has a new facebook page! Please do follow for even more zoological content and news (eventually). @UniofReading @ReadingBioSci
Corrosion casts of horse heart & sheep lungs - Made by Tompsett by fixing organs with formalin and injecting polyester resin into the blood vessels. Once hardened the tissue is dissolved leaving the vessels in situ. An amazing teaching tool before digital imaging existed @theRCVS https://t.co/DFyMFtV348 ColeZoology photo

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