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  • How to Get A-Head in Museum Studies

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 18 March 2014

    This is a guest blog written by two Museum Studies MA Students – Jenni Fewery and Christina Hink – who are discussing an object they have been researching this term as part of their ‘Museum Curatorship’ module.

    When we tell people we are Museum Studies students, the first question is usually, “Is that a real thing?” We are here to tell you that Museum Studies is indeed a real thing and share with you a bit of what we do. 

    Carl Gottlob Irmscher: Freiburg murderer.

    Carl Gottlob Irmscher: Freiburg murderer.

    In our Collections Curatorship class, we research objects from the original origin to their current life within a museum collection. UCL curators “auctioned off” three of their most mysterious objects. As members of the History of Science and Medicine group we were offered the opportunity to research one of three objects that the curator wanted to know more about. After being offered a rare yet (slightly) underwhelming fossil and the famous Jeremy Bentham, cast 34 came into the foreground. (more…)

    The Curator’s Egg*

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 5 December 2012

    Those of you who are based around UCL will probably have noticed the opening of the Octagon Gallery, UCL’s brand new exhibition space and the first part of the University’s ‘master plan’.  If you haven’t been to see it I urge you to. The cases are brand new and look great in the space, and we have used touch screens and AV for all the interpretation, so there’s plenty to prod and poke and play with. The idea of the gallery is to act as a show case for UCL’s collections and current academic research, and there is a wide variety of different objects represented.

    One of these objects  was recorded on our database simply as the ‘Big Egg’.

    Photo shows a large white egg shaped object on a wooden stand.

    Say what you see. It really is a Big Egg.

    When I saw this on the database I was disproportionally excited, as it’s the punchline to one of my favourite jokes –

    Q – What’s big and small at the same time?

    A – A big egg’

    (Armando Iannucci)

    On my first visit to the Science and Engineering Collection store rooms this was the first object I looked for and, when I eventually found it and unwrapped it from its bubble wrap (a bit like Christmas) I wasn’t disappointed. As you can see it looks exactly like a big white egg, but it also opens up to reveal a strange red cross on the inside. It can even be taken apart to reveal a pair of matching crosses. Why?

    (more…)