Written by Hannah Clarke, Curatorial Assistant (Collections Access) University of Aberdeen, Museum Collections Centre.
This October I was lucky enough to attend my first ever NatSCA conference, thanks to funding from one of the NatSCA bursaries. I was originally a little daunted, as this was my first Natural History Conference, but I knew that I had to throw myself in the deep end!
However, these worries soon dissolved, as everyone was really friendly, passionate about their specialism and eager to share their knowledge and experiences with everyone else in the room. Not only this, but the setting at Oxford University Museum of Natural History was a real treat, and I had a chance to take in the collection from above during coffee breaks.
Having originally trained as a conservator, I am now working in a collections access role, with responsibility for the upkeep of the Zoology Museum within my institution. Having been more focused on collections care in the last few years, I was keen to learn more about current advances in the conservation of natural history collections.
There were many highlights from the day, and as always at these kinds of events, new connections were made and advice offered openly to those with questions in the audience.
Welcome to the slightly late August edition of the NatSCA Digital Digest!
What Shall I Do?
Don’t forget to book your places for the Caring for Natural Science Collections workshop on the 17th October, if you haven’t already. It’s being held at the Oxford Museum of Natural History and should be lots of fun.
If you were planning on attending TetzooCon this year, time is running out: the dinner is already booked up (there is an alt-dinner, speak to Beth Windle for details) and I’m given to understand that over half the tickets have been sold already. Don’t miss out, it’s going to be bigger and better than ever.
I was just thinking last week that social media has taken over the world as the most thing in existence, corporeal or not, when this article came out about how scientists should all be trained in its use; Social Media; More Scientists Needed. No hope of escape for any of us then. (I say on a social media platform).
Last Wednesday, sadly, New Walk Museum had items stolen from display; From Rhino horns to Egyptian jewels. Whilst the objects stolen last week weren’t of natural history origin, this article (if you can see it through the adverts) also reveals that rhino horn was stolen from there a few years ago. The huge rhino horn problem faced by museums, primarily in 2012, was largely curbed by museums removing all horn from display. An update on this situation was published on our website recently in Rhinos and Museums.
What a month we’ve had! The Conference at Cambridge on the 20th to 21st April was a roaring success. Over 100 museum delegates gathered together beneath the mantle of a Finback whale skeleton, to swap notes and revive old connections. Many heated exchanges were had over issues ranging from fungi to frocked wolves. No museum-based conference is complete without a tour of the stores – big thanks once again to the Zoology Museum for having us. We got a sneak-preview of the new gallery space too and, while I can’t post pictures of that, I can tell you that you have to go and see it when they open. Highlights for me included an elephant from Sri Lanka with links to Stanley Kubrik, and a Diorama of a beach with added surprises for future conservators. Continue reading →
“What shall I do this month?” Namibian giraffe, image in public domain
What Should I See and Do?
I have had a number of people telling me how good the ‘Extinction or Survival‘ exhibition at the Manchester Museum is recently. You have until the 26th April to see it but we all know how fast time flies so don’t keep putting off your trip. And I’ll do the same.
This Saturday (11th February) the New Walk Museum is running ‘Fossils in Focus’ from 11am to 1pm, at which you can fondle some specimens and take in the Museum whilst you’re at it. For more information, check out the Museum’s website.
Opening soon is an exhibition at the Lapworth Museum of Geology (where I began my career! Ahhh fond memories…*) called ‘Where Land Meets Sea’. It is a photographic exhibition of work by Dr. Richard Greswell who, as both a scientist and photographer, has created what looks to be a stunning exhibition. A more detailed description of the exhibition can be found here. Continue reading →
If, like many, your world will never be the same again once Dippy the Diplodocus retires from his position adorning the entrance hall to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, you can at least help secure him a happy future by going for the job of Corporate Partnerships Manager- Dippy the Dinosaur on Tourat the NHM. The deadline is the 25th January so there’s still time to affect the life of this semi-retired much loved icon.
If digital engagement is more your thing then the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) are currently looking for a Digital Engagement Specialist. The deadline for this post is also the 25th January, with interviews on the 8th February.
Events and Exhibitions
The London Transport Museum is holding an interesting half day symposium on 7th March 2016 called Contemporary Collecting. The symposium is free and includes an evening reception at the Museum. There are six areas of focus listed on the website, ranging from risks of collecting to acquisitions that ‘are inherently, and/or overtly, political’. Sounds exciting!
Around the Web
The project of digitising the Charles Lyell Fossil Collectionsis well underway at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The blog (link above) is a fun and interesting read but more importantly, if you have any Charles Lyell specimens in your collection, Sarah Joomun and Eliza Howlett at the OUMNH would love to hear from you.