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Archive for the 'Geology Collections' Category

Celebrating Marvellous Maps!

Nicholas JBooth9 October 2014

Marvellous Maps Poster

Marvellous Maps Poster

Whenever I’m giving an introduction to the UCL Geology Collections there is one part of the collection that is pretty much guaranteed to get even the least engaged, non-geological undergrad at their 9am lecture on a Monday interested…our maps. There’s something about stopping what you are doing and exploring a map that just seems to interest people. Perhaps it’s the fact that with most maps the more you look the more you see; the more time you spend looking the more you are rewarded.

The 13th – 19th October is International Earth Sciences Week, and Friday 17th is Geological Map Day, so with this in mind UCL Earth Sciences and UCL Museums invite you to a very special pop-up event…

Marvellous Maps’ will be hosted in the Rock Room on Friday 17th October by UCL Earth Sciences, between 1 – 5pm.

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Ask a Curator day 2014

Meg JDobson16 September 2014

 

On Wednesday 17th September UCL Museums will be taking part in the Ask A Curator Day event on twitter. This event is growing year on year, and at the time of writing, this week’s event has 520 museums taking part from 36 countries. We know that asking a question in a museum can sometimes feel intimidating, and that we curators can sometimes be hard to track down. There’s so much to do that we aren’t always the most available group of people (though we really do try).  We are taking part in the day as part of our commitment to make our collections as accessible as possible.

Ask A Curator works like this.  Anyone in the world with a twitter account can tweet a question with the #AskACurator hashtag, and it will be answered by any of the institutions taking part. If you have a specific question for us you can tweet it directly to us @UCLMuseums and one of our staff will do their best to answer you. The Grant Museum of Zoology is taking part using @GrantMuseum, as is the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology on @PetrieMuseEgypt.

In preparation for this I thought I would introduce you to our members of staff taking part…

Jack Ashby – Jack is the Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology. He is responsible for the strategic direction of the Museum, as well as managing the Museum’s resources. Much of his time is spent on creating opportunities for the public to engage with research going on at UCL. A zoologist by training with a particular interest in Australian mammals, he still spends as much time as he can in the field. He’ll be taking questions via @GrantMuseum throughout the day and from the @UCLMuseums account from 12 – 1 pm. (more…)

Science + Art = ?

Nicholas JBooth6 May 2014

What happens when you give a Geology Museum to a set of Art Students? Well we are about to find out…

Photo taken in Geo-Chemistry Lab

Geo-Chemistry Lab at UCL.

Last year a group of sculpture Masters students from the Slade School of Fine Art took over the Rock Room (UCL’s Geology Museum) for a day, created a load of new art works relating to the space and the collection, and then opened it up to the public to view their work. It was a great day, we had a lot of visitors and the students seemed to enjoy themselves.

This year I met with the Slade organiser, Lecturer in Sculpture Karin Ruggaber, early, and we decided that we would build on the work of last time, by offering a tour of some of the lesser seen parts of the Geology Collections, and the Earth Science Department here at UCL,

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Museum Training for the World

EdmundConnolly7 March 2014

UCL is launching a new project with the British Council to help develop and teach new methods of Museum management. The Museum Training School opened this week and is aimed at mid-career professionals who are aspiring to be emerging leaders in the museum sector.

bc-ucl-mts-logo-black

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Human Evolution – The Story Of Us

Nicholas JBooth27 February 2014

Ever wanted to meet your ancestor?

Ever wanted to meet your ancestor?

On Friday 7th March the Rock Room (1st Floor Corridor, South Wing, UCL) will host a special pop-up exhibition featuring rarely seen objects from UCL’s Biological Anthropology Collection, and in particular their collection of early hominin fossil casts.

UCL’s Biological Anthropology Collection is held by (unsurprisingly) the Biological Anthropology Section of the Anthropology Department. Biological anthropology focuses on the study of primate ecology and evolution, including the study of human evolution.

In order to study and teach these subjects the department has built up a wonderful collection of over 2,000 bones, casts of bones and fossils, ancient tools and other types of objects (which I like to think of as ‘misc’). These are stored in the department and heavily used in teaching, helping students to bring the subject (back) to life.

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Specimen of the Week: Week 122

Emma-LouiseNicholls10 February 2014

It’s Valentine’s Day this week! I don’t subscribe to the modern idea that Valentine’s Day is a commercial farce designed to make you pay three times the price for one ‘romantic dinner’ out and 20 times the normal price for a rose of a specific colour. Well ok those are true, but Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to comprise either. Personally, I am REALLY hoping that this year someone loves me enough to get me membership to the British Arachnological Society for V-Day (link supplied in case you’re sufficiently moved, as it isn’t looking likely otherwise). But I’m not too sad as here at the Grant Museum I am surrounded by love. Such as in my choice of super lovey specimen this week! This Week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

Whose story is it anyway?

Alice MSalmon31 January 2014

 This Wednesday, 29 January, UCL Museums and Collections, and UCL Library Special Collections, teamed up with the literary charity First Story to deliver our annual creative writing event. Around 90 students from local London secondary schools spent the afternoon exploring and writing about our collections.

Students from Lambeth Academy absorbed in their work in The Rock Room, UCL

Students from Lambeth Academy absorbed in their work in The Rock Room, UCL

Events like these remind me of how lucky I am to work as an educator in museums. As museum professionals, we spend a long time thinking about how to tell stories (stories of our museums, stories of our collections, stories of our objects, stories of the people that owned said objects,  etc, etc…I could go on) but it is so refreshing to hand the role of the storyteller over to students, who can provide us with a totally fresh take on the collections we know so well.  The results were, quite simply, fantastic. Below is just one example of the quality of work produced from the visit:

Jack Isaaz –La Grotteri, from King Solomon Academy, was inspired to think about his heaven and hell through  working with the UCL Library Special Collections and, in particular, by Botticelli’s  illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy:

 For it is All that I Need

 Sensations seldom felt grip the air.

 More stains of darker, saturated hues. But still

 All feels grey. Unlike once before, the silence

 Is now silent: sounds of death, dead

 Vibrations permeate the dust that you hear

 And breathe. I can’t bear the nothing that

 I never had. You don’t see for there is nothing

 To observe.

 

She smiles again once more, though not one thing

 Could ever make one forget such a sight.

 The sun shines on the clouds and as it should,

 It does not shine on us. We are left with

 The fray of the familiar. The cold that embraces us is

 No foe, cooling our skin with its inviting breath.

 I imagine the park adjacent to the grass where I

 Lay down gazing at nothing because it is nothing that

 I’ve become accustomed to. The fun nothings I need.

 

 Raindrops now, stain the tar that bleaches the roads I’ve

 Walked upon my entire life. The buildings are calmed

 As their shadows find homes with the darkening

 Surface. There is no need for thought or speech for

 All is as it should be. I imagine

 Her smile.

 Jack Isaaz –La Grotteri, King Solomon Academy

To find out more about the work that First Story do you can visit their website: http://www.firststory.org.uk/

Alice Salmon is a Senior Access Officer in the Access and Learning Team for UCL’s Museums and Public Engagement Department.

Ramsay and the Nobel Discovery

Nicholas JBooth25 October 2013

Sir William Ramsay's Nobel Prize Medal

Sir William Ramsay’s Nobel Prize Medal.
UCL Chemistry Collection.

Sir William Ramsay was arguably one of the most famous scientists of his day. Between 1894 and 1898 he discovered five new elements – helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon; commonly known today as the noble gases. Not only was this impressive in itself, but these new elements did not fit onto the periodic table as it existed at that time. This led to Ramsay adding a whole new group to the periodic table. In 1904 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences chose to award Ramsay the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for his discovery of the noble gases. He was the first British person to win this prize.

2013 marks 100 years since the retirement of Sir William Ramsay from his post as Head of Chemistry at UCL. To mark this UCL Chemistry Collection will be taking part in a very special pop-up exhibition in the Rock Room, UCL’s Geology Museum.

Between 12.30 – 3pm on November 1st a range of objects relating to Ramsay and his work will be on display. I have picked out a few of my personal favourites…

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The great zombie apocalypse

RachaelSparks8 October 2013

Curatorial dilemma no 1: how to defend against zombie attack

Curatorial dilemma no 1: how to defend against zombie attack

On September 18th, UCL Museums and Collections participated in a worldwide event on Twitter: Ask a Curator day.  The plan was to have a handful of curators on call to deal with questions as they flooded in from a curious public. The reality was that we didn’t have many queries sent directly to our feed, so we went out into the Twittersphere to seek out interesting questions to answer. As Keeper of the Institute of Archaeology Collections, I spent an hour manning the virtual desk, and found it an interesting experience. (more…)

A week in the life of a Curator

Nicholas JBooth18 September 2013

People often ask me what it is I do for a job. “Well” I answer, “I’m a curator”.

Me in the micrarium at  the Grant Museum.

Me in the micrarium at
the Grant Museum.

“Yes, but what do you actually do?”

“I curate a collection, I help look after it”.

“Yes but what do you ACTUALLY do all day?”

It’s a good question, and one to which the answer is never really that simple. What I ‘actually do’ varies from week to week, and depends upon what I have to do, what I need to do, and what I have time to do. So I thought I would write a blog as a way of answering.

Last week I made a point of recording exactly what I was up to between Monday and Friday, and tried to take a few more photos that I would normally. I should say that I did not particularly plan for this week to be one I blogged about, and I resisted the urge to book in lots of important sounding meetings. I had planned to use a stepometer during the week, to see how far I walked, but sadly couldn’t get my hands on one in time.

So, my week…

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