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  • Pinocchio’s not the only one who’s been inside a whale

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 7 November 2012

    WhaleFest 2012

    The entrance to WhaleFest 2012

    The entrance to WhaleFest 2012. Image by Emma-Louise Nicholls

    The sounds you hear in the main hall are those that would be heard on any SCUBA diving trip. The main difference being that every few seconds in this particular extravaganza of acoustic delights, whale songs and dolphin clicks break through the background noise. With very little imagination you could believe you really were underwater as a large number of life size whales and dolphins surround you and blue and green streams of crepe paper hang from the ceiling, looking like waves in the dimmed lights. This was WhaleFest, making an exquisite entrance into my life. (more…)

    Guest blog: Old London Bridge: Recovery from Disaster

    By Krisztina Lackoi, on 26 October 2012

    GUEST BLOG: DAVID JONES

    Old London Bridge: Recovery from Disaster

    On Tuesday 9th October David Jones, Paper conservator, UCL Special Collections, curated a Pop-up display ‘Old London Bridge: Recovery from Disaster’. Sections of a 17thC panorama of London before and after extensive conservation treatment were presented and discussed in the context of the Art Museum’s current exhibition ‘One Day in the City’. Below is David’s account of this fascinating object and the process involved in bringing it back to life following severe flood damage.17thC view of the Thames, with severe flood damage

    UCL Libraries’ Special Collections hold not only a vast amount of extraordinary bound materials, but also treasures like this London panorama. This is Robert Martin’s 1832 lithograph copied from the Wenceslaus Hollar engraving published in 1647 A View of London from Bankside.
    (more…)

    Getting plastered

    By Rachael Sparks, on 18 October 2012

    Term started a few weeks ago; new students, fresh with the mud of PrimTech on their boots have finally managed to locate their various lecture rooms and labs, and now the serious work of becoming an archaeologist can begin. For the Institute of Archaeology Collections, this means that our objects are once again in high demand for teaching.

    Clay slingshots from Arpachiyah in Iraq, a cheap but effective weapon in the right hands. Hundreds of these were discovered, only going to show that sometimes neighbours are after more than a cup of sugar

    (more…)

    Animal record breaking

    By Jack Ashby, on 28 June 2012

    So far I’ve been very good at not linking activities at the Grant Museum to the Olympics. While I’m out here on ecological fieldwork in the remote northwest savannahs of northwest Australia, The Games have been very far from my mind. However, the phrase “new record” has been bandied about quite a lot here this month, and now I find myself writing a post that has nothing to do with the Olympics, but I’ve now already mentioned them three times. I appear to have jumped on the bandwagon of making a spurious link – something that everyone seems to be doing these days. Apologies.

    I’m currently working with a small team of ecologists catching animals on wildlife sanctuaries and cattle stations to monitor the effects of cattle and fire management on the ecosystem. This year we’ve caught a fair few animals in areas in which they’ve never been seen before. The excitement of being part of these new records is definitely personally valuable, but I’ve also been thinking about how these single pieces of data are potentially more valuable than all of the other single animals we catch.

    (more…)

    Catching dingoes in the dead of night

    By Jack Ashby, on 19 June 2012

    I spend lots of my holiday time volunteering for a charity in Australia which manages huge areas of land for conservation. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to undertaking in-depth ecological research to form the basis of the decisions on how to manage their sanctuaries. For the past three years I’ve been working with the team of ecologists which manage sanctuaries in northwest Australia, and right now I’m back in the central Kimberley.

    In the past I’ve written posts about pitfall, funnel and treadle-trapping for small mammals, lizards, snakes and frogs, and that’s what I’m doing most of the time at the moment, but on top of that I’ve also been involved with catching dingoes, which has been an intense and exciting experience. (more…)

    Mending Glass! A new conservation display at the Petrie Museum

    By Debbie J Challis, on 17 April 2012

    Guest post by Rachel Farmer

    Ever wondered how much work goes into conserving a single object? Ever wanted to try a bit of conservation yourself? A new exhibition at the Petrie Museum looks at the work done on Petrie objects by Conservation students at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.

    glass1The small pedestal case was chosen as a great place to put on exhibitions about the work that happens behind the scenes at the Petrie Museum. To start the ball rolling an exhibition on conservation has been installed which also highlights the close relationship between the Petrie Museum and the Conservation students from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. During the Conservation course at the Institute the students are given objects from material groups and over a number of years many groups of students have been given glass vessels from the Petrie Museum’s collection to work on. (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Twenty-Seven

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 16 April 2012

    Scary Monkey: Week Twenty-SevenUp above the cabinet so high, like a reptile in the sky, this week’s specimen of the week is both solid and squishy, it’s both green but white, and it is extremely hard to get down without the help of our 6 and a half foot curator so if you want to see it, you’ll have to look carefully. But it’s well worth the effort. This week’s specimen of the week is…

    (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Seventeen

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 6 February 2012

    Scary Monkey: Week SeventeenA week ago, the Grant Museum had a special family activities day called ‘Humanimals’, part of our exciting, and ongoing, Humanimals season which is investigating the influence that humans and animals have on each other. Our activities gave our visitors hands-on fun with furry, scaly, and boney specimens. One of the activities was a table covered in a jumble of bones from a real skeleton not too dissimilar to ours. The cunning idea behind the slyly educational activity was for our visitors to re-build the skeleton. We had our replica human skeleton standing next to the table for anatomical inspiration. It was so popular that it inspired this week’s specimen. The specimen of the week therefore is: (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Sixteen

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 30 January 2012

    Scary MonkeySo far in the specimen of the week, we have looked at a wide range of animals from across the zoological spectrum. We have seen invertebrates that look like flowers, fish that look like fisherman, monkeys that look like spiders. What we have, however, is a lack of feathered fun. Not one to discriminate or (purposefully) disappoint, this week’s specimen of the week is therefore one of our coolest (there’s a clue) feathery friends: (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Fourteen

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 16 January 2012

    Scary MonkeyThere has been lots to discover at the museum this week due to a renovation project that saw us decanting nearly a thousand specimens from the wall cabinets and making a mosaic carpet of organisms on the floor in the middle of the museum. (Read more here).

     

    The new scenery was a welcome change for most specimens, however there was one left bitter by the whole affair. Normally he enjoys a view of the museum from a high shelf, shared with no-one. Until he was put on the floor. Now I assure you he was placed there with delicate loving care. However, what we neglected to do was face him in the right direction. So instead of a sea of both new and familiar animal faces to amuse him, he had a brown cupboard door, about an inch away from his nose. For two weeks. Whoops.

     

    Feeling bad about this oversight (or subsequent undersight… as it were) I placated him by making him specimen of the week. The specimen of the week therefore is…  (more…)