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Museums & Collections Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Archive for May, 2018

Specimen of the Week 344: The mata mata skeleton

Hannah LCornish25 May 2018

This week we are meeting one of the weirder-looking species at the Grant Museum, and that’s really saying something. In life it had a nose like a snorkel, a shell like tree bark and a neck longer than its body. Specimen of the week is…

Mata mata skeleton Chelus fimbriata LDUCZ X186

Mata mata skeleton Chelus fimbriata LDUCZ-X187


**The mata mata skeleton**


A new look for Papyrus and Shabtis at the Petrie Museum

Anna EGarnett23 May 2018

If you come down to the Petrie Museum, you will see some new changes in the exhibition space. In April 2018, we formally opened three new display cases in the Pottery Gallery as part of our successful Arts Council England-funded Papyrus for the People project, which has recently ended. These modern cases look somewhat different to the antique wooden cases which you are used to seeing at the Petrie Museum, but importantly they are conservation-grade and offer the opportunity to safely display a range of objects including examples from our world-class papyrus collection.

Of the three new showcases, two are to display different themes which have emerged from new translations of our written material by language specialists during the Papyrus Project. These displays will rotate every 6-8 months, partly so that we are able to offer fresh interpretations of the texts on a more regular basis, but also to preserve the fragile papyrus fragments from being exposed to too much light, as this can be damaging to the papyrus and the inscriptions.

Case 1: Working Women in Ancient Egypt 


Getting the ‘Researcher Experience’ at the Petrie Museum

Anna EGarnett21 May 2018

Over the last six months, the Petrie Museum has hosted Amanda Ford Spora, an MA Student in Egyptian Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, who has been using the collection for her Masters’ research. In this guest blog, Amanda discusses her project and some of the outcomes so far.

Archaeologists and museum professionals develop a depth of experience working with objects, right from the trowel edge to the handling desk. It is this experience that is being explored with visitors at the Petrie Museum. One Saturday and two Wednesdays a month, visitors including: families (7 years+), tourists, undergraduate students, ancient Egyptian enthusiasts and the odd archaeologist and professor or two, have the chance to experience a fifteen minute ‘object-based, research-style’ visit at the museum, complete with all the ‘trimmings’, such as gloves, lamp-light, trays, padding and object-supports, in a cordoned-off section of the pottery gallery. (more…)

UCL wins international awards for innovative work in museums

Anna ECornelius18 May 2018

Colour photo of six people standing in a row in front of a glittery wall. The woman in the middle is holding a pink award.

UCL Museums and Collections have won two Museums + Heritage Awards at a glittering ceremony in central London. Regarded as the Oscars of the museums and heritage industry, the awards recognise UCL’s collaborative work to improve the wellbeing of museum visitors and rebuild a giant-size whale skeleton.


Specimen of the Week 343: The brain coral

NadineGabriel18 May 2018

Jack Ashby, our former museum manager who left a few days ago to work at the Cambridge Zoology Museum, often talks about how natural history museums are biased towards certain animals. As I looked through the list of animals featured in our Specimen of the Week blog, I noticed that corals have only featured once in the past six and a half years! So today I would like to dedicate this blog post to Jack and make sure corals get the representation they deserve!

Dry specimen of a brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis LDUCZ-C1439


Specimen of the Week 342: Alizarin stained sole

Christopher JWearden11 May 2018

Happy Friday to all Specimen of the Week readers. For my first specimen of the week post I decided to get started with an animal that could be considered ‘exotic’ due to its distribution (tropical Australia and New Guinea) and relatively unknown status (most people will tell you couscous is a food, not an animal). For my second post I’ve chosen a well-known animal which can be found much closer to home, it’s the…

Our Alizarin stained sole. LDUCZ – V393


Specimen of the Week 341: The Bark Scorpion

JackAshby4 May 2018

The bark scoprion, Centruroides edwardsii. LDUCZ-J46

The bark scoprion, Centruroides edwardsii. LDUCZ-J46

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.

As a native of Texas, this week’s Specimen of the Week is one that is always near and dear to my heart and occasionally in my shoes. And my sheets. And my hair. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)