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  • Archive for the 'Pathology' Category

    Museum Training for the World

    By Edmund Connolly, on 7 March 2014

    UCL is launching a new project with the British Council to help develop and teach new methods of Museum management. The Museum Training School opened this week and is aimed at mid-career professionals who are aspiring to be emerging leaders in the museum sector.

    bc-ucl-mts-logo-black

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    A “humerus” way to spend the holidays…

    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.

    Reconstructing the look of a plague doctor

    Reconstructing the look of a plague doctor

    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…)

    My life in a museum case

    By Subhadra Das, on 15 February 2013

    Only once in my life have I ever encountered an object in a museum display case which delivered such an emotional sucker-punch as to physically stop me breathing.

    One of the fun things about objects in museum collections is the way in which you can appreciate them in the context of your own life, experiences, sometimes even your own body. For example, when looking at the gynaecology specimens in UCL’s pathology collections they are full of resonance for me because I’ve got similar (hopefully considerably less diseased) bits sitting inside me and because my mother was, for over four decades, a gynaecologist and obstetrician. [1] In the Galton Collection, I have classified my hair and eye colour according using the colour scales and devices which were used at the Galton Laboratory.[2]

    The ivory chessmen on display at Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery. Image courtesy Ynys Crowston-Boaler.

    The ivory chessmen on display at Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery. Image courtesy Ynys Crowston-Boaler.

     

    I’ve also experienced those little moments of recognition for things which, even when you see them for the first time, are somehow immediately familiar and speak directly to you. The ones I remember best are the hugely spectacular – like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio – and those that refer to memorable thoughts and experiences. On a visit to Nottingham, I was blown away by these ivory chessmen which sit in a case at Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery and are exactly like the ones described in my favourite novel. I stood gawping at those chessmen for much longer than any other exhibit in the museum, even the fancy modern artworks which were what I had actually gone to see. Running a close second on the same trip was the statue of Robin Hood at the bottom of the hill leading up to the castle, which featured in a documentary about Torvill and Dean, a recording of which I had watched repeatedly and obsessively as a five-year-old.[3]

    Given that I am aware of the evocative power of objects, the emotional (and physical!) winding I mentioned at the start of this blog may have been a shock, but it wasn’t entirely a surprise. The object in question was this, in one of the more innocuous displays at the Design Museum in Copenhagen. Up until that point I had been happily strolling through the galleries taking pictures of chairs – of which they have an extensive typology, going ‘Oooh…!’ at the Japanese porcelain vessels and trying to work out why there was a bottle of Heineken in a case that otherwise only exclusively held antique silverware.

    Then, suddenly, blithely sitting in a case, was this; my Dad’s CD player.

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    Nick and Sub are in the building

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 13 June 2012

    Nick and Sub get to grips with UCL's Pathology Collections

    So, what should two new curators expect in their first weeks at UCL Museums?Nick Booth and Subhadra Das are two new curators working with Teaching and Research at UCL. This includes collections in subjects as diverse as geology, pathology and historical science.

    Both of us have experience of working in museum/collections type environments, but as these posts are brand new for UCL, we have had lots of new ground to cover and a steep learning curve to climb.
    (more…)