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“Interesting artifacts/items but poor display/condition”

Museum of Natural History
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1 Day Tour of Ulaanbaatar City Including Lunch Option
Ranked #24 of 75 things to do in Ulaanbaatar
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Athens, Greece
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Interesting artifacts/items but poor display/condition”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

The museum is located down town and i consider it among the "should see" destinations of the city. it has a wide variety of items on display and even real dinosaur skeletons which is a rare item to see even internationally. However the museum is left in its soviet-era condition with most of the embalmed animals having no or little maintenance during the last years and displays being old and unattended. Another annoying thing is that pictures were not allowed (even without flash) although but since nobody almost speaks English, i couldn't understand if this was applied to few rooms with sensitive items or in the entire premises..!!! In any case a good place to see but don't expect much.

Visited March 2013
Thank thomas f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 reviews from our community

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Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
49 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Jam packed with very interesting items”
Reviewed February 9, 2013

One of the best museums and you ought to visit here prior to seeing the rest of Mongolia. The exhibits are very well displayed and captioned. A real eye-opener to what is Mongolia's past and present.

Visited July 2012
Thank Didi M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
84 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Some amazing artifacts among weak presentation in need of an update.”
Reviewed February 7, 2013

An update would bring this museum to life. Calling all wealthy miners and business people in Mongolia!!! Help build this museum to its full potential and show off all the amazing natural history of this unique country.

Visited June 2012
Thank HubBubba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Great for kids”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

I love this place. There are some really cool displays. If your little one loves dinosaurs and bugs like mine do they will have a blast. The skeleton with the bullet hole in its skull was a bit disturbing.
The kids have been there a few times and always enjoy the hall with the dinosaur display, they could stay there for hours. They have a national geographic book on Roy Chapman Andrews Dinosaur Hunter and many of the fossils pictured in the book are on display in the museum

Visited November 2012
Thank UB23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesterland, Ohio
Level Contributor
754 reviews
301 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 483 helpful votes
“This Place is a Hoot: Go For The Displays and the Ambiance”
Reviewed November 11, 2012

Ulaanbaatar has two museums next to each other just off of Sukhbaatar square with almost identical names. There is the Mongolian Museum of National History, which is a modern structure devoted to Mongolia's history. Others have reviewed it on this website. The second, next door, is the Museum of Mongolian Natural History, which is devoted to the country's natural (not national) history.

The Natural History Museum is well worth a visit on two levels. First, it is, as far as I know, the only natural history museum in the country and contains a great deal about the country's flora and fauna that you won't see anywhere else.

Chief among these attractions is the terrific dinosaur part of the museum, which contains fossils you cannot see anywhere else. Mongolia is a little bit like Wyoming or Alberta in that there is a wealth of dinosaur bones that scientists have been able to unearth. Among other things, they have a pro to-Triceratops (try to imagine a triceratops about the size of a large dog), the Asian version of the T-Rex, and parts of the only known example of a dinosaur whose name translates to something like "terrible hands." They know what a treasure these fossils are, and its the only part of the museum where they won't let you take photographs. Not that I would encourage rule-bending, but there is a balcony overlooking part of the display that doesn't seem to have the signs banning photography.

There are also other unique displays involving Mongolian science and natural history, including memorabilia from Mongolia's only cosmonaut and an interesting display on the efforts to re-introduce the endangered Przewinski's horse (it's harder than you might think due to the harsh climate). We saw displays of butterflies, various mammals, minerals (Mongolia is unbelievably rich in natural resources) and flowers. The museum is well worth visiting for the unique Mongolian natural artifacts alone.

The second reason to visit this museum is because it is really odd. The building is in a classical Soviet built structure that I would have estimated was constructed around 1900 (yes, that was before the revolution, but it looks over 100 years old). I think it was really built around 1950 and it is more than showing its age with sagging floors, odd lighting, and many displays that are less than up to date. You feel like you have stepped into some Victorian relic as you walk around. I found the setting entertaining in and of itself, but I would recommend looking at it in the right frame of mind - certainly the builders and creators had the best of all possible intentions in one of the least hospitable and remote locations on earth. I can't think of any place like this.

Perhaps the oddest part of the museum is the awkward taxidermy that makes many of the animals look bug-eyed and comical. I've posted some of the pictures. My educated guess is that there isn't much taxidermy in Mongolia and that the creator was learning his or her trade for this museum, but the displays add to the wonderfully strange atmosphere. There are also some more modern and newer displays that reflect greater skill and are on a par with what you would see in a western natural history museum.

We were able to read Cyrillic, which helped with some signs, but many were also in English and we had no trouble understanding what we were seeing.

We thought that the Natural History Museum was a very enjoyable part of our trip to Mongolia. It is well worth a visit if you are in Ulaan Baatar and a very short walk to or from the city's other major attractions.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank ElaineAndGreg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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