NatSCA Digital Digest – October

Compiled by Dr Emma Nicholls, Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

What Should I Read?

You may or may not own/have heard of ‘Dinosaurs, How They Lived and Evolved‘ by Dr Darren Naish and Dr Paul Barrett, but either way the good news is there’s now a literally-just-released-second-edition, which is the most up to date a (printed) book can possibly be really. There is a lot of talk about it already but my tuppence is- I have a copy and it’s brilliant. That description fully extends to the captivating cover art by Bob Nicholls of Paleocreations, featuring a hungry Tianyulong (that’s a dinosaur, in case you weren’t sure).

I came across a charming article about getting children into natural sciences recently called ‘Kids and caterpillars: Fostering a child’s interest in nature by rearing Lepidoptera (moth and butterfly) larvae‘. I’m not suggesting we all go out and start rearing leps, but in an age where human lives are ruled by technology, it’s a beautiful story and heart warming example of an intra-familial cross-generational citizen science project by an Assistant Curator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and his son.

As we all know, historically, women in science have been sadly overlooked and under-recognised. Fortunately for EVERYONE, this is something that a lot of good work is going into changing. One such project is the recently released virtual issue of the Journal of Zoology called ‘Women in Zoology‘; a compilation of research published in the journal, spanning from the 19th century through to the present day. This special edition is SO special they have made the nine papers it comprises free and easy to download right here, hoorah!

What Should I Do?

How about, help a colleague?

Nigel Larkin is currently looking for examples of uroliths, and is hoping you may be of assistance: “For some research I am undertaking into uroliths in the fossil record, I need to look at comparative material that can be from any age; prehistoric, historic or modern. Please could you check your collections’ databases and let me know if you have any kind of specimen(s) described as any of the following, that I could examine (from any type of animal or human): Kidney stone, Bladder stone, Urolith, Enterolith, Calculus, Calculi, Struvite, Cystine, Ureteral stone, or Ureter stone. Thank you for looking, I really do appreciate it. If you find anything at all, please get in touch ( With best wishes, Nigel“.

…and/or help a different colleague?!

Meg Cathart-James is the Project Officer and Teaching Assistant at the Cole Museum of Zoology at the University of Reading and she has a special request: “You may know that we are moving to a new building next year, and as part of that myself and Amanda Callaghan, the Curator, need to design all the new display cases and write brand new interpretation material. This responsibility lies with just us, as we don’t have the budget for professional designers. To this end, it would be incredibly valuable for us if I could shadow you and your teams for a short period of time, if you are going through a display design process or will be in the next few months (including into early next year). I would of course be an eager pair of extra hands to assist in your museum! A research trip such as this would be of huge benefit to the development of the new Cole. If you are interested and have a display design project I could get involved with, please email me directly as it would be great to talk further ( Many thanks and best wishes, Meg“.

The ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ exhibition is due to open at the Natural History Museum, London on 19th October 2018, and will bring you the very best 100 photos from a pool of a not insignificant 45,000 entries. How can they not be impressive with those odds of being selected?

Also opening on the 19th October is a Special Exhibition called ‘Bacterial World‘ at OUMNH (Oxford University Museum of Natural History). The exhibition will have its own launch event on the opening night, called ‘Uncultured’ (clever). The exhibition will run until the 28th May 2019, and tickets to the launch night on the 19th October 2018 can be booked via Eventbrite. Here is an interview with the Museum’s Director Paul Smith, by Culture Calling, all about the exhibition; ‘Cause we are living in a Bacterial World!‘. Thanks for that ear worm Culture Calling.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Australia, a new exhibition called Whales | Tohorā will open its doors at the Australian Museum in Sydney, on the 20th October. In their words: ‘Presenting the latest cetacean research from the international scientific community, Whales | Tohorā explores the diversity, biology and adaptation of whales to life in our oceans and celebrates their role in South Pacific Islanders’ rich cultural history’.

The Museums Association is holding a one day conference on the 24th November at University College London, called ‘Don’t Stop Me Now; Launching Your Museum Career‘. It’s £35 for non MA members, booking is via the link above. And here comes another ear worm, sheesh. If you go, make sure you have a good time. Maybe have a ball even.

What Can I Apply For?

Portsmouth Museums Service is advertising for a Natural History Collections Assistant. It is a 15 month role, the closing date is 22nd October. Details here.

The National Museum of Ireland has two vacancies at the moment; Entomology Curator, within the Natural History Division; details here, and Preventative Conservator within the Conservation Department, for which the details are here. The closing date for both positions is the 26th October 2018.

The OUMNH (Oxford University Museum of Natural History) have just advertised for a number of roles: Front of House Manager – Maternity Cover, closing date: 15th October. Exhibitions Officer – Maternity Cover, closing date: 5th November 2018. Documentation Assistant, closing date: 12th November 2018. Head of Collections, closing date: 19th November. Details for all four can be found on their vacancies page.

Finally, the South West Heritage Trust is offering a 12 month Museum Futures Traineeship, to start on the 21st January 2019. Applicants must be between 18 and 24 years old, with little or no museum experience. If you are interested, you can find our more here.

Before You Go…

If you have visited an exhibition/museum, have something to say about a current topic, or perhaps you want to tell us what you’ve been working on, please drop Emma an email at Thanks!

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