The museum was founded in 1889 by Prince Ferdinand as the Princely Natural History Museum. In the beginning it contained the personal collection of prince Ferdinand, which was made up from birds, mammals and butterflies. The first exhibit was opened for visitors in 1907 with 14 halls spread over two floors, in an old building on the present site of the museum. The current four-storey building that houses the collections since 1936 is the only one in Sofia, built specifically for a museum. In 1948 the museum was renamed the Museum of Natural History. The exhibitions occupy 4 floors with 15 halls. In the museum are shown the extinct for 90 years Caroline parrot, the extinct in Bulgaria monk seal, bearded vulture, little bustard, gray and maiden crane, steppe viper and German sturgeon. In the recent years, the expositions have been enriched with several dioramas, illustrating the wildlife of the Arctic (polar bears and seals), Africa (black panther), Asia (tiger) and South American rainforest (jaguars, macaws and tamarin monkeys). Other large mammals exposed in recent time include white rhinoceros, Himalayan bear, cheetahs and buffalos.
Interest among the visitors spark one of the last pure aurochs, the brown bear – the largest in Europe, the rare lesser panda, the beautiful birds-of-paradise, the toucans, the extinct Californian condor, different types of pheasants with gorgeous plumage , the giant African tortoise, the blind cave fish from America and muddy hopping perioftalmus, a fish that can move on land.
The museum is an established scientific research unit of the Bulgarian Academy of Science. Its team offers various educational programs.
Translation Yordan Georgiev - trainee