By Edmund Connolly, on 7 March 2014
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Archive for the 'Geology Collections' Category
By Nicholas J Booth, on 27 February 2014
On Friday 7th March the Rock Room (1st Floor Corridor, South Wing, UCL) will host a special pop-up exhibition featuring rarely seen objects from UCL’s Biological Anthropology Collection, and in particular their collection of early hominin fossil casts.
UCL’s Biological Anthropology Collection is held by (unsurprisingly) the Biological Anthropology Section of the Anthropology Department. Biological anthropology focuses on the study of primate ecology and evolution, including the study of human evolution.
In order to study and teach these subjects the department has built up a wonderful collection of over 2,000 bones, casts of bones and fossils, ancient tools and other types of objects (which I like to think of as ‘misc’). These are stored in the department and heavily used in teaching, helping students to bring the subject (back) to life.
By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 10 February 2014
It’s Valentine’s Day this week! I don’t subscribe to the modern idea that Valentine’s Day is a commercial farce designed to make you pay three times the price for one ‘romantic dinner’ out and 20 times the normal price for a rose of a specific colour. Well ok those are true, but Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to comprise either. Personally, I am REALLY hoping that this year someone loves me enough to get me membership to the British Arachnological Society for V-Day (link supplied in case you’re sufficiently moved, as it isn’t looking likely otherwise). But I’m not too sad as here at the Grant Museum I am surrounded by love. Such as in my choice of super lovey specimen this week! This Week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)
By Alice M Salmon, on 31 January 2014
This Wednesday, 29 January, UCL Museums and Collections, and UCL Library Special Collections, teamed up with the literary charity First Story to deliver our annual creative writing event. Around 90 students from local London secondary schools spent the afternoon exploring and writing about our collections.
Events like these remind me of how lucky I am to work as an educator in museums. As museum professionals, we spend a long time thinking about how to tell stories (stories of our museums, stories of our collections, stories of our objects, stories of the people that owned said objects, etc, etc…I could go on) but it is so refreshing to hand the role of the storyteller over to students, who can provide us with a totally fresh take on the collections we know so well. The results were, quite simply, fantastic. Below is just one example of the quality of work produced from the visit:
Jack Isaaz –La Grotteri, from King Solomon Academy, was inspired to think about his heaven and hell through working with the UCL Library Special Collections and, in particular, by Botticelli’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy:
For it is All that I Need
Sensations seldom felt grip the air.
More stains of darker, saturated hues. But still
All feels grey. Unlike once before, the silence
Is now silent: sounds of death, dead
Vibrations permeate the dust that you hear
And breathe. I can’t bear the nothing that
I never had. You don’t see for there is nothing
She smiles again once more, though not one thing
Could ever make one forget such a sight.
The sun shines on the clouds and as it should,
It does not shine on us. We are left with
The fray of the familiar. The cold that embraces us is
No foe, cooling our skin with its inviting breath.
I imagine the park adjacent to the grass where I
Lay down gazing at nothing because it is nothing that
I’ve become accustomed to. The fun nothings I need.
Raindrops now, stain the tar that bleaches the roads I’ve
Walked upon my entire life. The buildings are calmed
As their shadows find homes with the darkening
Surface. There is no need for thought or speech for
All is as it should be. I imagine
Jack Isaaz –La Grotteri, King Solomon Academy
To find out more about the work that First Story do you can visit their website: http://www.firststory.org.uk/
Alice Salmon is a Senior Access Officer in the Access and Learning Team for UCL’s Museums and Public Engagement Department.
By Nicholas J Booth, on 25 October 2013
Sir William Ramsay was arguably one of the most famous scientists of his day. Between 1894 and 1898 he discovered five new elements – helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon; commonly known today as the noble gases. Not only was this impressive in itself, but these new elements did not fit onto the periodic table as it existed at that time. This led to Ramsay adding a whole new group to the periodic table. In 1904 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences chose to award Ramsay the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for his discovery of the noble gases. He was the first British person to win this prize.
2013 marks 100 years since the retirement of Sir William Ramsay from his post as Head of Chemistry at UCL. To mark this UCL Chemistry Collection will be taking part in a very special pop-up exhibition in the Rock Room, UCL’s Geology Museum.
Between 12.30 – 3pm on November 1st a range of objects relating to Ramsay and his work will be on display. I have picked out a few of my personal favourites…
By Rachael Sparks, on 8 October 2013
On September 18th, UCL Museums and Collections participated in a worldwide event on Twitter: Ask a Curator day. The plan was to have a handful of curators on call to deal with questions as they flooded in from a curious public. The reality was that we didn’t have many queries sent directly to our feed, so we went out into the Twittersphere to seek out interesting questions to answer. As Keeper of the Institute of Archaeology Collections, I spent an hour manning the virtual desk, and found it an interesting experience. (more…)
By Nicholas J Booth, on 18 September 2013
People often ask me what it is I do for a job. “Well” I answer, “I’m a curator”.
“Yes, but what do you actually do?”
“I curate a collection, I help look after it”.
“Yes but what do you ACTUALLY do all day?”
It’s a good question, and one to which the answer is never really that simple. What I ‘actually do’ varies from week to week, and depends upon what I have to do, what I need to do, and what I have time to do. So I thought I would write a blog as a way of answering.
Last week I made a point of recording exactly what I was up to between Monday and Friday, and tried to take a few more photos that I would normally. I should say that I did not particularly plan for this week to be one I blogged about, and I resisted the urge to book in lots of important sounding meetings. I had planned to use a stepometer during the week, to see how far I walked, but sadly couldn’t get my hands on one in time.
So, my week…
By Nicholas J Booth, on 17 September 2013
On Wednesday 18th UCL Museums will be taking part in the Ask A Curator Day event on twitter. The original day was way back in 2010 and this year already has more museums signed up than ever before (525 in 34 countires at time of writing). We know that asking a question in a museum can sometimes feel intimidating , and that we curators can sometimes be hard to track down. There’s so much to do (all that cataloguing…gah!) that we aren’t always the most accessible group of people (though we really do try). We are taking part in the day as part of our commitment to make our collections as accessible as possible.
Ask A Curator works like this. Anyone in the world with a twitter account can tweet a question with the #AskACurator hashtag, and it will be answered by any of the institutions taking part. If you have a specific question for us you can tweet it directly to us @UCLMuseums and one of our staff will do their best to answer you. The Grant Museum is also taking part using @GrantMuseum.
In preparation for this I thought I would introduce you to our members of staff taking part… (more…)
By Nicholas J Booth, on 28 August 2013
The UCL Geology Collection contains over 100,000 objects, mostly specimens collected for and used in teaching, or material collected in the course of research. Most of these are, unsurprisingly, geological specimens. However within the Geological Collections there is a special sub-collection which includes not just specimens, but also art works, photographs and books of special interest to the history of the study of volcanology. This is known as the Johnston-Lavis Collection.
Dr Henry Johnston-Lavis was born in London in 1856. He trained as a doctor at UCL and UCLH, gaining a first class degree in practical chemistry in 1874, and a first in clinical medicine in 1878. He moved to Naples in 1879, where he established a practice looking after the English speaking community. By all accounts he was a good doctor, and popular with his patients. There are accounts of him working day and night during a Cholera outbreak, despite being ‘dreadfully afraid’ of the disease. Amongst notable medical work he carried out was the discovery of the link between shell fish and gastric problems.
By Alice M Salmon, on 19 April 2013
Firstly, I need to apologise for the lack of immediacy in writing a blog about the year 8 “spring school” that I ran on behalf of UCL’s Museums and Collections last week. With my teenage years a distant memory, a bit of R and R was required to recover from the energy of 38 constantly excited 13 year olds.
That aside, it was certainly a week to remember! Participants witnessed a barber surgeon in action, analysed animal poo, and created their own alien dissection, all in the name of education. They discussed the ethics of human display, philosophised over what makes us human, and took great pleasure in analysing the “worth” of a dismembered foot that had been consumed with dry gangrene. (more…)