THE wrapping is coming off hundreds of treasures so the Oxford University Museum of Natural History can re-open next month.

Staff are carefully unpacking everything from fossils to a full size T-Rex skeleton for the February 15 re-opening.

The 1861 Parks Road museum closed before Christmas 2012 so that its leaky roof could be repaired.

About 8,500 glass tiles have been removed, cleaned and replaced with new sealant so buckets collecting water are a thing of the past.

Everything from butterflies to decorative stones and a zebra skeleton had to be packed away.

Only the mighty T-Rex and Iguanodon dinosaurs remained in place and were surrounded in boxes when scaffolding went up.

The year-long works provided an opportunity to lower and partly restore five hanging whale skeletons.

Staff members began opening boxes this week now the work has been completed.

Spokesman Scott Billings said: “We have missed them.

“The museum has been quite dark for the past 12 months so it is good to see it coming back to life.

“Our team has been packing them and did checks on condition before and after, which takes a lot of time.”

He added: “Because the scaffolding was in we were able to lower the whale skeletons, which hadn’t been looked at for more than 100 years.

“Getting them down and back up was pretty hairy, they had to be lowered down on cables.

“The condition has been checked and they have been treated and cleaned.

“It is quite meticulous and a lot of work. It can’t be done in a slapdash manner. It will be really fun to re-open the museum — a lot of people have missed it. It will be great not to have to put buckets out on a regular basis.”

The neo-Gothic Grade I museum hosts the university’s zoological, entomological and geological specimens.

Including archives, the zoological collections have more than 250,000 specimens including the most complete remains of a dodo in the world.