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Museums & Collections Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Archive for the 'Galton Collection' Category

The Grave of Francis Galton

Debbie JChallis7 July 2011

Occasionally I leave the museum bunker to give talks about the museum, exhibitions and my research. A few weeks ago I went out to the lovely village of Claverdon in Warwickshire to give a talk on Francis Galton.

2011 is the centenary of the death of the scientist Sir Francis Galton. Francis Galton's Grave in Claverdon GraveyardLast year the churchwarden Jonathan Evans got in touch with UCL Museums and Collections as they had received funding from the Galton Institute to clean up and conserve Galton’s grave in Claverdon church’s graveyard. (more…)

Typecast Today

Debbie JChallis6 April 2011

Typecast Today? News and Opinion on Genetics, Heredity and Race. . .


The exhibition Typecast opened at the Petrie Museum last week and we officially open together with the UCL Library’s Francis Galton: An Enquiring Mind tomorrow evening. Whilst I was preparing the ‘private view’ information a few cursory clicks on google brought up the following headlines around ‘genetics’, ‘breeding’, ‘family tree’  . . .

4 April 2011 BBC News

Five more Alzheimer’s genes discovered, scientists say http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12937131

Borrowing Galton

Natasha LMcenroe8 February 2011

Although my main role is Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology, one of my responsibilities is to act as Curator for the Galton Collection. Francis Galton (1822-1911) is best known today for being a pioneer of modern eugenics, a fingerprint enthusiast and a cousin of Charles Darwin. The collection consists of over 500 objects, largely made up of Galton’s personal belongings and scientific instruments. Although small, the Galton Collection provokes a great deal of interest from both researchers and artists, partly due to the relevance of many of the themes and questions it raises in terms of identify, race and human rights.

As the Galton is a small research collection that is available for viewing only by appointment, one of my main remits is to promote and facilitate loans to exhibitions taking place in other museums. In this way, as many people as possible get to access this material in a way that they wouldn’t do ordinarily. This is quite a time-consuming process, but the rewards are great – for example, the Wellcome Collection dedicated a large section of their excellent exhibition The Identity Project to Galton, meaning that nearly 80,000 people accessed a large chunk of the UCL Galton material in just a few months. It also means that the items can be seen by an international audience – I have just had loan of seven objects returned from the Hygiene Museum in Dresden.