Events
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    The Great Grant Knit-a-Thon

    By Siobhan Pipa, on 5 June 2015

    I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit. Unfortunately a lack of hand-eye coordination and a short attention span mean that it’s a skill I’ve never quite mastered. I also really like quirky museums. So naturally the Grant Knit-a-Thon, organised by the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology as part of this year’s UCL Festival of the Arts, seemed like the perfect event to me.

    Knitted armadillo on display at Grant Museum  (C) Grant Museum

    Knitted armadillo on display at Grant Museum
    (C) Grant Museum

    Teaming up with East London yarning collective, Prick Your Finger, the Grant Museum offered novices and experts alike a day of knitting, crocheting and stitching – all whilst giving us the chance to explore the museum’s current exhibition ‘Strange Creatures: The art of unknown animals’.

    The knit-a-thon was inspired by one of the pieces currently on display in ‘Strange Creatures’ – Ruth Marshall’s knitted Tasmanian Tiger skin. The knitted pelt was chosen for inclusion in the exhibition by Sarah Wade (UCL History of Art), co-curator of ‘Strange Creatures’.

    As part of the knit-a-thon activities, Sarah gave a fascinating talk on how natural history museums use contemporary art and craft to engage with visitors.

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    Grant Museum Show’n’Tell: Soda Lakes

    By Irrum Ali, on 29 October 2014

    Cichlid fish. Image courtesy of  Dean Veall and Antonia Ford

    Cichlid fish. Image courtesy of
    Dean Veall and Antonia Ford

    The Grant Museum of Zoology is just one of UCL’s many interesting and engaging museums, conveniently located almost directly opposite the Quad, and so, perfect for a fly-by lunchtime visit.

    The museum hosts plenty of events throughout the year including its exciting Show’n’Tell series. I took the opportunity to go along to an edition and hosted on Wednesday 22 October.

    Home to no less than 68,000 fascinating objects, the museum’s collection covers everything from the Tasmanian tiger and Dodo to brain matter and skeletons from species right across the animal kingdom. I heard from a UCL researcher who was asked to showcase just one object from the vast options on offer and tasked with sharing all they know about it to a keen and inquisitive audience.

    It was certainly a unique experience to be surrounded by thousands of specimens as the talk took place at the heart of the museum among the many exhibitions. The event began with a short welcome and introduction to the museum, including an overview of its 170-year history, by our host for the hour, Dean Veall (Grant Museum, Learning and Access Officer) who then introduced PhD student Antonia Ford (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment).

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    The big question: too many people on the planet?

    By Katherine L Aitchison, on 17 May 2013

    Earth, courtesy of Kevin M Gill on Flickr

    Earth, courtesy of Kevin M
    Gill on Flickr

    There are currently 6.9 billion people living on our planet and with that figure set to rise, many people are worried about how long the Earth will be able to sustain us all and cope with the damage that we are inflicting on it.

    The UCL Grant Museum of Zoology has a “case of extinction” featuring, among others, dodo and Tasmanian wolf (thylacine) specimens. Both of these species were hunted to extinction by humans and since their deaths many other species have faced the same fate. Which led Dean Veall, the museum’s learning and access officer, to ask the Big Question: are there too many people on the planet?

    When the question was first posed to a packed JZ Young lecture theatre, after a glass of wine and a mooch around the Grant Museum’s always fascinating collection, the answer from the crowd was a resounding ‘yes’. But over the course of the night, we stood to have our opinions tested and potentially changed.

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    It Came From The Stores at the Grant Museum

    By James Heather, on 23 July 2012

    The summer ‘Silly Season’ at the Grant Museum is coming to an end, and to send it off in style paleobiologist and curator Mark Carnall gave a talk on some of the museum’s hidden treasures.

    Not for the faint hearted, It Came From The Stores revealed some of the weird and wonderful specimens that for one reason or another don’t make it out to the display cases.

    The Grant Museum is probably my favourite of the UCL museums. It’s a wonderful cosy natural history museum, which makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to some Victorian-era collection, where bottled animals and wired skeletons peer out of the display cases at you.

    There’s a very good reason for this impression, as the core collection of the museum was gathered in the early 1800s by the museum’s namesake, Robert Edmond Grant (one of Charles Darwin’s influential mentors), to serve as a teaching collection for the university.

    In the intervening centuries, various other scholars, curators and collectors have made their own additions. However, not all of these samples are out on display; at the Grant Museum only five per cent of the material they own is on show.

    This may seem surprising to those of us who aren’t in the museum trade, but apparently this is a relatively high number, with larger national museums displaying a fraction of a percent!

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