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  • Specimen of the week 339: The St Kilda mice

    By Hannah Cornish, on 20 April 2018

    Our specimens this week might be small, but they are giants of their species because of the peculiar effects of living on an island. They are…

    St Kilda mice LDUCZ-Z1528

    St Kilda mice LDUCZ-Z1528

    (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 338: a tour of the Platypus Skeleton

    By Jack Ashby, on 13 April 2018

    Anyone who tells you that the platypus isn’t the best animal in the world is a liar. This is my conclusion after nearly fourteen years working in the museum that [probably] has more platypuses on display than any museum in the world*. My first ever Grant Museum Specimen of the Week was a taxidermy platypus, and here I return to this exceptional beast to explore the platypus stripped bare.

    A platypus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z26

    A platypus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z26

    The beauty of skeletons is that every lump and bump tells a story. Bone is shaped by the muscles, tendons and ligaments that pull on it, so we can trace the lives of animals as well as their evolutionary histories by asking why skeletons are shaped the way they are.

    Allow me to take you on a tour of… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 337: The Mussett Collection

    By Nadine Gabriel, on 6 April 2018

    To celebrate 100 years since some women were first given the right to vote in the UK, UCL are running a number of events and exhibitions. Here at the Grant Museum, our Specimen of the Week blogs have focused on women in natural history.

    The Grant Museum is home to many sub-collections which were either donated by other museums and collections or by previous curators such as Ray Lankester, D. M. S. Watson and James Peter Hill [1]. This Specimen of the Week is about the Mussett Collection, which was collected and donated by Dr. Frances Mussett, a palaeontologist and researcher at UCL. (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 336: The Common Spotted Cuscus Skeleton

    By Christopher J Wearden, on 30 March 2018

    Good afternoon to all Specimen of the Week lovers. Before I get started with my inaugural blog I’ll take this opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Chris – museum enthusiast/cyclist/zoologist-in-training. I’m also the new Visitor Services Assistant at the Grant Museum. I’ve taken time over my first couple of weeks familiarising myself with the wonderful collections we have on display, and after careful consideration I’ve decided on a specimen that is very close to the heart of our museum manager. It’s the…

    Our common spotted cuscus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z75

    Our common spotted cuscus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z75

    (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 335: The Chinstrap Penguin skull

    By Jack Ashby, on 23 March 2018

    This week’s Specimen of the Week is a guest edition by Front of House Volunteer and UCL Student of History and Philosophy of Science, Leah Christian.

    A couple of weeks ago we gave you a skull from the flamingo, a bird that prefers the warmer climes. Now, let’s look at a bird that would feel right at home in the United Kingdom this week…

     

    A chinstrap penguind skull. LDUCZ-Y1577

    A chinstrap penguind skull. LDUCZ-Y1577

    (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 334: The Tapeworm (feat. the sheep brain)

    By Jack Ashby, on 16 March 2018

    This week’s Specimen of the Week is a guest edition by Front of House Volunteer and a UCL Masters student of Human Evolution and Behaviour, Adam Cogan.

    A sheep's brain disected to reveal a tapework cyst. LDUCZ-D60

    A sheep’s brain disected to reveal a large tapeworm cyst. LDUCZ-D60

    If by now 2018 is giving you a bit of a headache, then this week’s Specimen of the Week may make you feel a bit better! Today our guest (and host, I suppose) is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 333: The Coal Ball Slides

    By Tannis Davidson, on 9 March 2018

    D.M.S. Watson Coal ball slide

    D.M.S. Watson Coal ball slide

    In celebration of International Women’s Day and the 100 year anniversary of the first women having the right to vote in the UK, the Grant Museum is highlighting specimens in the collection related to women in natural history as well as showcasing female specimens and exploring topics such as gender in zoology.

    As part of UCL vote 100, this week’s Specimen of the Week blog focuses UCL alumna Marie Stopes – campaigner of women’s rights and pioneer of family planning. She is widely known for her controversial and influential book Married Love (1918) – a sex manual for women which popularised the taboo subject of birth control and for establishing (with her second husband Humphrey Verdon Roe) Britain’s first birth control clinic in 1921.

    Stopes’ first passion, however, was science and the Grant Museum is home to a group of specimens associated with Marie Stopes’ significant palaeobotany career… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 332: African Jacana

    By Dean W Veall, on 2 March 2018

    Dear Specimen of the Week readers, Dean Veall here in what is my LAST EVER Specimen of the Week post. If I were to choose my favourite it would definitely be SOTW 199: Jar of… But, enough of the nostalgia. I am picking up the baton from Jack and Hannah and have chosen a specimen from our collection that explore stories of women in natural history, amazing female natural history  and the language of gender in zoology to help mark International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March. This week I’ve chosen…

    (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 331: The Glanville Fritillary

    By Hannah Cornish, on 23 February 2018

    It is 100 years since the first women got the right to vote in the UK, and with international women’s day coming up UCL is celebrating with UCL vote 100. At the Grant Museum we are taking this opportunity to explore stories of women in natural history, amazing female specimens and the language of gender in zoology.

    This week’s specimen is rare in the UK, but common in the Grant Museum collection. Its connection to our theme is not to do with the species itself, but to do with the incredible woman who discovered it. Specimen of the week is….

    L1313 (second from top) and other specimens of Melitaea cinxia in the Grant Museum collection

    LDUCZ-L1313 (second from top) and other specimens of Melitaea cinxia the Glanville Fritillary in the Grant Museum collection

    (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 330: The taxidermy koala – The language of natural history

    By Jack Ashby, on 16 February 2018

    With generic terms like mankind and Homo sapiens (“wise man”), people of all genders are well aware that it is the masculine that has dominated the vocabulary of humanity. Not so in the animal kingdom.

    Across UCL Culture we are celebrating the centenary of some women first getting the vote in the UK in a number of different ways. In the run up to International Women’s Day, here on the blog our Specimens of the Week will be exploring themes like women in natural history, female specimens, and – in this case – the language of natural history. This week’s Specimen of the Week is…

    Koalas are one of many Australian mammals that are named after a female attribute. Phascolarctos means "pouched bear". LDUCZ-Z65

    Koalas are one of many Australian mammals that are named after a characteristic that only females have. Their scientific name Phascolarctos means “pouched bear”. LDUCZ-Z65

    (more…)