UCL Museums & Collections Blog
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  • Museums Showoff: Celebrating the mundane

    By Mark Carnall, on 18 October 2013

    Earlier this week I was lucky(?) enough to have a spot on the excellent Museum Mile Museums Showoff special as part of the Bloomsbury Festival. For those of you who don’t know, Museums Showoff is a series of informal open-mic events where museum professionals have nine minutes to show off amazing discoveries, their research or just to vent steam to an audience of museum workers and museum goers. My nine minutes were about the 99% of objects that form museum collections but you won’t see on display. They fill drawers, cupboards, rooms and whole warehouses. But why do we have all this stuff? Who is it for? In my skit on Tuesday I only had nine minutes but I thought I’d take the time to expand on the 99% and the problem of too much stuff (particularly in natural history museums) and what we can do with it.
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    Trace fossils and not-quite dinosaurs

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 27 September 2012

    On Friday this week (28th September) I will be helping to clean one of the largest, and to my mind most impressive, specimens on display in UCL’s Rock Room – the 243 million year old footprint of a mammal-like reptile (but definitely NOT a dinosaur) called Chirotherium. I say definitely not a dinosaur because I’ve made this rather embarrassing geological/ zoological mistake a couple of times and been told off for it.

    As the footprint is displayed in its own (heavy) glass it has taken more planning than you would have thought is required just to clean a specimen. In honour of this I have decided to write my first Geology blog on the subject.

    Image of the Chirotherium footprint on display in the Rock Room

    Chirotherium footprint on display in the Rock Room

    The Chirotherium lived during the Triassic Period, 248 – 206 million years ago, when most of the land on earth formed the super continent Pangaea. Its track prints have been known about since 1834, when examples were found in the German central state of Thuringia, however they have since been found across Europe, North America and parts of Africa.
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