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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


The Grant Museum’s Fifth Birthday

By Jack Ashby, on 15 March 2016

Happy birthday to ewe
Guppy birthday to ewe
Guppy bird-jay deer Grant Museum

Guppy bird-jay shrew ewe.

On the 15th March 2011 the Grant Museum 2.0* opened its doors to a new era. It was the day we begun our lives in our current home on the corner of Gower and University Streets. Permit me to be a little sentimental, but it was the start of something wonderful. It’s been an amazing five years in which our little museum has really grown in stature to be a significant part of London’s cultural offer. Here’s what’s happened over the last year, which I think it’s fair to say has been our best ever! (more…)

Tiny Praise for the Micrarium at the Museums + Heritage Awards

By Jack Ashby, on 15 May 2014

The Micrarium

The Micrarium

Last night was the Museums + Heritage Awards – the Oscars of the Museum world. This was our third year on the shortlist, and after winning the Award for Innovations in 2012 and the Guardian Cultural Pros Pick (a public vote to find the UK’s most inspiring museum) in 2013, hopes were high that the Micrarium (our place for tiny things) would pick up the Award for Project on a Limited Budget in 2014.

Sadly that wasn’t to be, but happily we didn’t come away empty handed. We were the Highly Commended entry in the category, so we do have something to add to the trophy cabinet. We are really thrilled that the project was recognised by the sector.

The Micrarium was conceived to overcome two identified problems in museums with natural science collections. First, that 95% of all known animal species are tiny – smaller than your thumb – yet nearly all the specimens on display in natural history museums are large animals. As such, natural history museum galleries are deeply unrepresentative of the natural world – a disconnect that visitors very rarely notice. (more…)

The Grant Museum’s Third Birthday

By Jack Ashby, on 14 March 2014

History is a funny thing – we can create a boundary in time, hit reset, and restart the clock whenever we like. We did exactly that three years ago tomorrow, when the Grant Museum 2.0 reopened in our current location on 15th March 2011. In truth we are one of the oldest natural history collections in the country – founded in 1828 (or possibly 1827), but it took a while to become more than just a mass of specimens, and only became a Museum with a capital M in 1997. Reset has been hit a number of times in the past 186 years, but here we celebrate the latest counter ticking round to Three.

The year in numbers
20624 visitors during normal opening hours (up 25% on last year)
15999 participants in our events (up 60% on last year)
5141 school and FE students in museum classes
2454 university students in museum classes
216 objects accessioned
138 blog posts
16 loans
12 Underwhelming Fossil Fish
1 most inspiring museum in the UK
0 objects acquired

We may be a dusty Victorian collection in an Edwardian library (more…)

Grant Museum wins Museums and Heritage Award Culture Pros Pick

By Mark Carnall, on 16 May 2013

Team Grant receiving their Museums and Heritage Award

Team Grant receiving their Museums and Heritage Award

Rarely are the Grant Museum team allowed out. At the end of a typical day we’re stuffed back into our respective cases until the next morning when zoologising begins at dawn. Last night was an exception however as the team headed down to the illustrious premises of 8 Northumberland for the 11th Museums and Heritage Awards, the Oscars of the museum world if you will.

We were shortlisted for the Culture Pros Pick Award for the most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction. Over 500 nominations were received and the five museums that received the most nominations were put through to a public vote. This is the first time one of the Museums and Heritage Awards has been voted for by the public and we were suitably edge-of-our-seats with anticipation for most of last night. Our fellow nominees were Amlwch Copper Bins, Dorking Museum & Heritage Centre, Museum of London, and Stow Maries Aerodrome.

However, if you read the title of this post then you may already gathered that we won it! To prove it, here’s Scary Monkey with the award, complete with our grubby fingerprints from last night: (more…)

Vote for the Grant at the Museums + Heritage Awards

By Jack Ashby, on 3 April 2013

We received some very exciting news – we have reached the final five shortlist of the award for the most inspiring museum at the museum wold’s equivalent of the Oscars – the Museums and Heritage Awards. The winner will be selected by public vote.

Often these nominations and shortlists are a result of a judging panel selecting between applications that museums have sent in themselves. This shortlist, however, was generated by the Guardian asking real members of the public to nominate which museum they think is a shining example within the sector for its ground-breaking approach to engaging with audiences and visitors. We couldn’t be happier!

That’s not true – we would be even happier if we actually won. Please please please vote for us with a single click here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2013/mar/21/museums-heritage-culture-pros-pick-vote

If, like me, you think that we are inspirers – that you like the way that all of our staff are so accessible when you visit; that you said “wow” when you visited the new Micrarium; that you enjoy our social media; that you think highly of our events programme; or simply that you approve of what we’ve done with our collections, then we would be hugely grateful if you could click and vote for us.

Grant Museum wins Museums and Heritage Award for Excellence

By Mark Carnall, on 17 May 2012

Last night a contingent from UCL including colleagues from Museums and Public Engagement, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and Heritage Without Borders headed down to the illustrious premises of 8 Northumberland for the 10th Anniversary Museums and Heritage Awards. In total three UCL projects had been shortlisted; the move of the Grant Museum for Project on A Limited Budget, the Grant Museum’s QRator project for Innovations, and Heritage Without Borders for The International Award. Did we bring home the silver (glass)? Well from the title of this post you can gather we did but you’ll have to hit the jump to find out more.. (more…)