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  • The Art of the Grant

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 25 February 2014

    At the Grant Museum both staff and our visitors are very lucky because we do not have quite the same level of red tape as most non-university based museums. Our collections are historically for teaching only, and even now are still used heavily in undergraduate courses at UCL, which means that physical access to specimens is much more possible than in non-teaching based collections. It is for this reason, as well as the shining personalities of the Grant Museum staff no doubt, that our Museum is extremely popular with artists. The ability to choose a specimen (within reason… the mounted donkey skeleton is a little heavy) and have it placed on the table in front of you for you to gaze at and draw to your heart’s content, is surely nearing unparalleled levels of excitement. (more…)

    From the vollies: Loose ends and key information

    By Mark Carnall, on 31 October 2013

    This is a guest blog from one of the Grant Museum’s volunteers, Geoffrey Waller. Geoffrey has been volunteering for the Museum for a number of years undertaking the diligent collections care work that helps us to function as a museum and make the most of our collections here. Recently, Geoffrey has been going through one of our many series of card indices cross-referencing information with our current catalogue, enriching  data we have about our specimens which make them significantly more useful for teaching and research. Here are some of the highlights.

    For the last 18 months I have been working on a long-term cataloguing project at the Grant Museum. The project has involved sorting a large collection of some 1500 hand-written record cards into appropriate categories and numerical order. Each card (known technically as an MDA card*) bears the specimen’s accession number – the unique identifying number given to specimens on the Grant Museum collections database. It is therefore possible to cross-check the specimen data on the MDA card with the data already held on the database.

    Image of examples of MDA cards from the Grant Museum of Zoology UCL

    Three of the 1500 MDA cards now added to the collection catalogue.

    Mining the Data

    During this cross-checking, I could add any new information recorded on the MDA cards to the existing database entries, making it available to anyone accessing the records. (more…)

    Working [in museums] Wednesdays #3

    By Edmund Connolly, on 5 June 2013

    Tunnelling into museums (not literally!)

    When it comes to job hunting I am intensely jealous of people like Flinders Petrie, who was pretty much handed the Chair of Egyptian Archaeology at the bequest of Amelia Edwards in 1892[1] . Whilst some of this does still happen in the Museum world, indeed any employment pool, it can be as difficult finding a vacancy in a museum at it is finding an andron in a Greek house[2].

    Online

    There are some useful website for sourcing heritage and museum jobs. Naturally one can go direct to an institution (such as the BM or Tate), but bear in mind museums that are part of institutions, eg. the Petrie, employ via the same HR routes as their host (UCL). In other words, if one wants to apply for a job at the Petrie, the application will be on the UCL job website[3]. However, for in-house volunteering schemes (as blogged in #2)  you generally apply directly to the museum as they are more bespoke.

    There are some websites which collate museum jobs in general, the standard Guardian Jobs is very useful as there is a ‘Arts and heritage’ group within which there is a ‘Museums’ sectioning. Slightly annoyingly though, this is separate from the Heritage and Library posts which are often also of interest, just make sure you tick both when searching.

     

    The snazzy museum jobs website, copyright www.museumjobs.com

    The snazzy museum jobs website, copyright www.museumjobs.com

    (more…)

    Working [in Museums] Wednesdays #2

    By Edmund Connolly, on 29 May 2013

    The Vexation of Volunteering

    Volunteering in museums has being a bit maligned, are budding young enthusiasts being taken advantage of ? (such as this MJ article). Unfortunately, there may appear  an unfair element to volunteering, and they are essential in the running of many, if not all, museums. However, where the Petrie flys in the face of the nay-sayers is our commitment to offering our volunteers as holistic an experience as possible when they join our team.

    From Bastet to Bodybuilders, our volunteers see it all. Copyright Marilyn Luscombe.

    From Bastet to Bodybuilders, our volunteers see it all. Copyright Marilyn Luscombe.

    (more…)

    Touching Heritage

    By Nicholas Vogelpoel, on 22 October 2012

    Volunteers in the ‘Touching Heritage’ programme, funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant have been taking objects from across UCL’s museums and collections to people in hospitals, care homes and other community health settings for the past couple of months, and facilitating object-handling sessions with participants who would otherwise be excluded from visiting museums.

    Patient in object-handling session

    The programme is unique not only because of its intentions to actively engage excluded communities in cultural activity, but because it offers volunteers the opportunity to become the facilitators of heritage-in-health sessions. The benefits of object-handling and the potential for improved experiences of health and wellbeing through cultural engagement for participants have been a priority of the heritage-in-healthcare research team at UCL for a number of years. Researchers have found that the kinaesthetic and tactile properties of the objects have the potential to influence and improve experiences of health and wellbeing for participants of a session. (more…)

    Call for volunteers: Touching Heritage

    By Nicholas Vogelpoel, on 6 August 2012

    If you are someone who is passionate about heritage, interested in health and wellbeing, and keen to volunteer in an innovative heritage-in-health project – we want to hear from you!
    Patient in object-handling session © UCL Museums and Public Engagement

    UCL Museums and Public Engagement is looking for a new group of volunteers to take part in the Touching Heritage project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new programme aims to widen participation in cultural activities by taking museum objects out to hospitals and other healthcare communities that would otherwise be excluded from museum activities (e.g., residential care homes). One-to-one and group sessions led by facilitators will focus on the cultural, social and natural diversity of the objects in relation to participants’ own health and wellbeing. The experience will be enhanced by touching and handling objects traditionally associated with health and wellbeing, and by discussing how the objects feel, what they are made of or whether they resonate in other ways with participants.

    We are currently seeking volunteers to train as facilitators of museum object handling sessions, and then to co-ordinate object handling sessions in hospitals, care homes and other healthcare environments as part of the project. (more…)

    New Media Works at UCL Art Museum

    By Andrea Fredericksen, on 16 November 2011


    Tessa Power, Channel (2010)

    By Cathrine Alice Liberg

    Every year UCL Art Museum acquires student works from the Slade School of Fine Art through the William Coldstream Memorial Prize, an annual purchase prize which recognizes a student’s particular excellence in any medium. In 2010, the prize was awarded to Tessa Power for her video installation Channel, and as a museum intern, completing a History of Art Material Studies (HAMS) placement, I have had the pleasure of setting up her work as one of the first digital art objects to be showcased at UCL Art Museum. It will feature as part of our current exhibition Word & Image, which is on display throughout the autumn term. (more…)