I am currently coordinator of a rather ambitious project developed by Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the South West Museum Development Programme. The project has been renamed ‘South West Area of Natural Science Collections Project‘ (SWANS), and it aims to identify where knowledge and skill gaps lie across the South West sector via a survey, and then develop training events to help address any losses.
Three intense training courses are being developed for the partner organisations, and these include carcass preparation, fossil preparation, documentation and digitisation of natural science collections. The carcass prep has already been undertaken, and was hugely educational to the attendees.
We have just delivered the first of two introductory seminars on working with natural science collections, and a further four specialised workshops will be developed to target the sector’s needs. Preventative conservation has been highlighted as of particular relevance to the mixed group of collection managers. Four NatSCA committee members are partners of this project, so we can keep you up to date with developments. Follow us on Twitter @SWANS_JEF, and we also have a dedicated webpage for the project: http://www.southwestmuseums.org.uk/projects-grants/john-ellerman-foundation-project/
I have just touched on a couple of the developments we are working on. There is much more to come!
Senior Curator of Natural Science, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
NatSCA Conservation Representative