A CELEBRATION of ‘beetlemania’ is planned to mark the 100th anniversary of a collection at Blackburn Museum.

Donated in 1914 by local businessman Arthur Bowdler, the bugs and beetles remain one of the most popular exhibits in the museum, fascinating children and adults alike.

On May 17, there will be a special ‘Festival of Wonders’ involving events, workshops, talks, performances celebrating the stories, people and places of Pennine Lancashire.

It highlights 100 years of ‘Bowdler’s Beetles through a ‘Beetle Trail’ of events.

The collection features upwards of 4,000 beetles from all over the world, with the core being collected in Britain by Bowdler himself and many more from all over the world bought from collectors or picked up by travelling friends or family. The beetles have been preserved by being dried out and the larger ones have had their insides removed.Although it is unknown exactly how rare some of the species may be, it is believed some may have since become extinct and their preservation in Blackburn is extremely important.

The ‘bug themed’ day starts with ‘Little Bugs Cinema’ at Blackburn is Open Cinema where the animated film ‘Antz’ will be shown from noon to 7pm.

Next door in the Arts Centre there will be a pop-up café to decorate a bug cake and take part in workshops using electronics and digital technology.

There will also be ‘Big Bug’ handling sessions, a selection of creative workshops where children can create their own beetle-inspired creatures, and more of Bowdler’s actual collection will be on display than ever before.

Museum manager Paul Flintoff said: ‘We have created our event for families using one of our most popular exhibits and we’d really like them to take part.”