The lecture hall of the Museum has room for 80 tables with chairs, 40 additional chairs and the possibility of expansion. The hall has modern audiovisual equipment and can host a range of events, such as lectures, workshops, symposia and small conferences. For small conferences, there is also addition space with the capacity for 40 more people. The Museum also has the equipment for displaying posters.
ANIMALS OF THE WORLD
It is well known that our planet’s continents are characterized by the presence of certain animals. Some of these continents, such as the region around Australia, have a completely different fauna to the rest of the world. Many of these special animals are presented in this section of the Museum. Here particularly, one gets a sense of the enormous diversity of animal life on the planet and the need for its protection. One of the most striking exhibits in this section is the ground-dwelling parrot from New Zealand, the Kākāpō, the largest and most endangered species of parrot.
A unique part of the Museum is its dioramas. These present animal groups such as the ostriches and related species, the crocodilians and the Asian black bear, among others. The dioramas also show some important ecosystems and their animal inhabitants, such as deserts and Mediterranean ecosystems. The most impressive aspect of these dioramas is their realistic depiction of moments in the lives of animals in these ecosystems. For example, in one scene, a lion is shown attacking a zebra, while in another, life in the Arctic is represented by two imposing polar bears.
In addition to the remarkable fishes seen in the "large marine vertebrates" section of the Museum, the visitor can see other impressive fish species in two cabinets of mounted freshwater and marine fishes. Although these are only a small sample of such a diverse group of vertebrates, the strangeness of some of the specimens more than compensates for their low numbers. Nearby are two cabinets in which corals and sponges are each exhibited. Visitors cannot fail to be impressed by the diversity of the latter.
AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES
The Museum’s collection of Amphibians and Reptiles includes specimens from Greece and from around the world. In addition to the wet specimens in the Museum's cabinets, there are also taxidermy mounts of some impressive reptiles. These give the visitor the opportunity of learning about this often-misunderstood group of animals. The collection of crocodilians includes many examples of this unique and remarkable group of reptiles. The snakes are represented by the boa and the impressive cobra, while the lizards are represented by large iguanas. The information poster about snakes tries to dispel some of the prejudices people have regarding these misunderstood animals.
The Museum has the largest collection and exhibition of birds in Greece. It includes bird species from around the world and almost all the species found in Greece. The visitor can see the plethora of colors and forms that these flying inhabitants of our world possess. At the same time, the birds of different ecosystems are presented, including: the birds of urban areas, the birds of forests, mountains and wetlands. The exhibition shows us some of the rarest and most endangered birds of Greece and of the world. Our imaginary journey into the world of birds culminates with a glimpse of the huge diversity to be seen in bird’s eggs and nests.
LARGE MARINE VERTEBRATES
The sea hosts the largest animals on the planet. The buoyancy provided by water compensates for gravity, so organisms can grow to enormous sizes. In the Museum, visitors can see some of these marine giants. The model of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), which is 4.5 m long, gives us the opportunity of learning about this ultimate predator. The devil ray (Mobula mobular) with fins spanning about 2 m, belongs to the skate family and is related to sharks. The huge ocean sunfish (Mola mola), one of the heaviest fish with a bony skeleton, hangs from the ceiling, as though swimming, impressing us with its strange shape. The skeleton of the common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) is 8.3 m long and 140 years old and allows us to appreciate why whales are mammals.
Today, due to human activities, there is a global decline in biodiversity. The rate of this decline shows us that we are causing a mass extinction. In Greece, the populations of many species have been dangerously reduced, while some species have already become extinct. In this part of the exhibition, the visitor can see some of these animals. Among them are the Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus) which is considered an extinct species in Greece, the fallow deer (Dama dama) which today survives in nature only on the island of Rhodes, the endemic viper of Milos (Macrovipera schweizeri) and the bear (Ursus arctus), as well as various birds and invertebrates.
An important part of the Museum’s Mammal section concerns the Primates and the evolution of man. Our closest relatives, the great apes are presented here, as well as a description of the short journey of 7,000,000 years that separates the first upright apes from modern man. A fundamental question for humanity has always been, “How did our species originate?” Fossils of skeletal remains, especially of skulls, are key tools used in discovering our roots. Our collection of model skulls, going back to our earliest relatives from before 7,000,000 years ago, allows us to observe the gradual loss of monkey-like traits and our transition into modern man.
The Mammal exhibition includes representatives from all groups in this class. These include primitive groups such as the Monotremes (Ornithorhynchus) and the Marsupials (wallaby). The exhibition gives us the opportunity to see the variety of shapes and sizes of Mammals, from the tiny shrew to the huge whale, and from the mole to the flying lemurs. It allows us to see up-close all the adaptations that have led this group to inhabit almost all the ecosystems on the planet.
THE MAMMAL ELITE
The Mammals as a group are highly interesting to humans. The main reason for this is that humans themselves belong to this group. Today mammals form a key part of the planet's biodiversity, but at the same time many of their species are endangered due to humans. The largest diorama of the Museum shows many species of mammal in replicas of their natural habitats. Iconic representatives of this group inhabiting high mountains, forests, jungles and savannas, show us the diversity and beauty of Mammals. Here the ibex can be seen next to the wild boar, the otter next to the jackal, the hyena with the antelope, the cheetah with the black panther, together creating an exquisite natural mosaic.
The Museum contains a large collection of Arthropods, which includes specimens from Greece and from all over the world, with insects taking a prominent position. The Blecha Collection contains thousands of beautiful Coleoptera (beetles) from across the globe. Some of the most impressive are the Goliath beetles, which are among the largest insects in the world. There are also vibrantly coloured jewel beetles from Eurasia and impressive rhinoceros beetles. The collections of specimens from other groups of insects, such as butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, bees and wasps, etc… introduce the visitor to the wonderful world of insects. The visitor can also see some examples of the scorpions of Greece, which are presented in a replica of their natural environment.
MOLLUSCS (THE WORLD OF SHELLFISH)
Molluscs are a diverse group that includes small, worm-like animals, but also the giant squid. It also includes animals with one, two, eight or no shells. In the Museum’s shell collection, you can admire a huge variety of shapes and colours. The marine forms may impress us with their harmony of colours and shapes, but the terrestrial Molluscs easily rival these with their variety of sizes and intricate forms.
LARGE TERRESTRIAL MAMMALS
On entering the Museum, visitors see three impressive dioramas. The first contains the largest deer in the world, the elk, and one of the largest specimens of this species in any European Museum. The second diorama contains a 4 m tall giraffe and its calf, which is about 2 m tall. The third diorama contains a group of lions of different ages and sexes. Some of these specimens are over 110 years old.