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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Nick and Sub are in the building

By Nick J Booth, on 13 June 2012

Nick and Sub get to grips with UCL's Pathology Collections

So, what should two new curators expect in their first weeks at UCL Museums?Nick Booth and Subhadra Das are two new curators working with Teaching and Research at UCL. This includes collections in subjects as diverse as geology, pathology and historical science.

Both of us have experience of working in museum/collections type environments, but as these posts are brand new for UCL, we have had lots of new ground to cover and a steep learning curve to climb.

Things we have learnt so far:

  • The first day in any new job can be daunting, but on our first day it was the last week of the term so there was also 6000 stressed students to contend with.
  • Don’t put your hand down on a counter in the pathology lab without looking to see what’s there first (Nick).
  • Be sure to use library voices in the office as we are directly above a lecture theatre
  • Don’t try to get anywhere in a hurry between 5 minutes to or 5 minutes past the hour.
  • There is a lot of work to do!

As well as finding our feet, we’ve also been busy working too! So far we have:

  • Started an audit of the Galton Collection
  • Worked to have about 40 objects from the Galton Collection photographed so they can be used for teaching.
  • Gone to a conference in Oxford on Science and Engineering Collections
  • Drunk lots of tea (Sub) and coffee (Nick)
  • Discovered the existence of a whole other pathology collection the belonged to the Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital. The Collection also includes animal specimens (lion, leopards, monkeys, etc.) [photo of baby elephant]
  • Started an Audit of the Science Collection revamped the displays in the Rock room
  • Set up a rota for the new opening times of UCL’s Geology Museum, the Rock Room. First day Friday 22nd!

This isn’t a bad start, but, as we have learnt, there is still a whole lot more to do! We’ll be posting more blogs about the weird and wonderful things we discover and the projects we’re working on as we go.

Next time, Nick explores a philosophical question about an object in one of our more controversial collections…

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