National Poo Museum aims to strip away taboos

Chester George lowering horse dung into the poo desiccator at the National Poo Museum.
Chester George lowering horse dung into the poo desiccator at the National Poo Museum.

A museum dedicated to poo, with real-life examples from the animal and human world, has opened to the public.

The exhibition at the Isle of Wight Zoo is the first in the UK to focus on faeces, and features excrement from animals such as elks and lions as well as a human baby.

Meerkat scat in the exhibition at the National Poo Museum.

Meerkat scat in the exhibition at the National Poo Museum.

The National Poo Museum has been created by members of the artist collective Eccleston George.

The group has created 20 illuminated resin spheres to show off the different types of poo with interesting facts hidden behind retro toilet lids which line the museum walls.

The display also includes fossilised poo (coprolites) dating back 140 million years as well as a tawny owl pellet containing bones and teeth.

Nigel George, one of the exhibition's curators, said: "Poo provokes strong reactions.

A 'poo tree' in an exhibition inviting visitors to give their theories about why so many dog poos end up hanging from trees in plastic bags.

A 'poo tree' in an exhibition inviting visitors to give their theories about why so many dog poos end up hanging from trees in plastic bags.

"Small children naturally delight in it but later we learn to avoid this yucky, disease-carrying stuff, and that even talking about poo is bad.

"But for most of us, under the layers of disgust and taboo, we're still fascinated by it."

Co-curator Daniel Roberts added: "Poo is all around us and inside us, but we ignore it.

"The National Poo Museum's mission is to lift the lid on the secret world of poo - to examine our relationship with it and to change forever the way we think about this amazing substance.

Daniel Roberts holding a lion poo in resin at the National Poo Museum.

Daniel Roberts holding a lion poo in resin at the National Poo Museum.

"The National Poo Museum also intends to rub people's noses in important poo-related issues, from dog mess to the effects of diet on the microbiome, to lack of access to sanitation in developing countries.

"We collected the poos from the wild in different countries and also received donations from the Isle of Wight Zoo and the Isle of Wight Dinosaur Museum.

"To prepare the faeces we had to build a special poo-drying machine. A stick insect poo can be desiccated completely in an hour or so, but a lion poo can take a fortnight to dry out."

The attraction will be held at the Sandown zoo through the spring and summer before going on tour.