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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Fluid Fish and Mystery Precipitate

Emilia L Kingham21 January 2016

Fluid preserved fish after treatment

Fluid preserved fish after treatment

Part of the work that we do as conservators for UCL’s Museums and Collections is to maintain the condition of the various collections.  The Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy has approximately 300 fluid preserved specimens on display in the museum and 3500 fluid specimens in the stores.


Specimen of the Week 213: The Enigmatic Gibbon

tcrnrh19 November 2015

Hello Grant Museum blog readers and zoology enthusiasts, it’s Rachel Bray here. You may be wondering who I am, unless you saw a Specimen of the Week blog by me back in May when I temporarily joined the Museum for my MA placement. I am very lucky to be back at the Grant until Christmas to work with the Museum’s wonderful learning and events programme. As part of my return I’m pleased to be getting back into the Specimen of the Week swing of things by researching this week’s candidate which is…

Photograph of the grey gibbon specimen

LDUCZ-Z475 Hylobates sp.


The Museum is Where the People Are – vote for us now

Jenny M Wedgbury29 April 2015

PURE EVIL - Roberto Rossellini's Nighmare

Roberto Rossellini’s Nightmare, Pure Evil

VOTE NOW http://bit.ly/connectpureevil

Old master prints, drawings of flayed bodies, mysterious things in glass jars, extinct animal skeletons, glittery minerals and rocks, amulets and charms from ancient Egypt: UCL Museums and Collections are a treasure trove of the awe inspiring and unusual. But we don’t just think of ourselves as being a collection of objects fixed to one space and place, we believe that the Museum is where the people are and we want to take the spirit of our collections off site for the Museums at Night event on 30 and 31 October. (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week 181

Tannis Davidson30 March 2015

Scary-Monkey-Week-NineAt the Grant Museum we have nearly 68,000 specimens – and each, in its own way, has a story to tell. Some are historical specimens dating back to the earliest days of the Museum such as Professor Grant’s thylacine skeleton  and the popular walrus penis bone.

Others tell more modern tales of use in the collection for teaching (SOTW 178), undergoing conservation work (Return of the Rhino), or being featured in exhibitions (SOTW 180).

This week’s Specimen of the Week has several stories to tell and as such,  I’ve always thought it one of the most interesting specimens in the collection.  It is… (more…)

Specimen of the Week : Week 178

Tannis Davidson10 March 2015

Scary-Monkey-Week-Nine Happy almost springtime! Longer days and brighter skies herald the coming of the change of season. This year the official start of Spring will be marked by a total solar eclipse on March 20 (get your eclipse glasses ready). When the sun re-emerges from behind the moon, both man and beast can rejoice in the return of the light and the promise of rejuvenation.

Here at the Museum, it is also time to clean the shelves, tidy the office, refresh the displays and present a brand-new exhibition. From 16 March to 27 June join us for Stange Creatures: The art of unknown animals and explore the world of animal representation.

While springtime has many different meanings and associations, including representative animals, one animal is perhaps most symbolic of this time of year. In honour of this most springy of selections, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

My Favourite Specimen at the Grant Museum

Mark Carnall11 June 2012

I finally did it, I bit the bullet. You’d think that after [a number of undisclosed years] at the Grant Museum I’d have my answer for the regular question from visitors “What is your favourite specimen?” down to a fine art. But I didn’t. I’d cop out. I’d probably start with something along the lines of stating that as a museum, ethically we value each and every object in the museum equally. Nearer to the truth is that it is constantly changing from week to week. With 68,000+ objects in the museum there are a lot to choose from and more often than not the specimen I’d been documenting or researching that week would have an interesting story behind it or I’d discover something amazing about a group of animals I’d not known before. Well wait no longer because I’ve gone for a definitive, all-time, this-is-it favourite (for now at least) and the choice might surprise you….. (more…)

Fire at the Grant Museum (not really)

Emma-Louise Nicholls14 March 2012

The Grant Museum of ZoologyPartly because I love my job, and partly because my train is so darn unreliable, I get to the museum early. This morning was no different but as I snaked my way through the underground tunnels something was far from usual. My nose was suddenly filled with a disconcerting smell… smoke. A thin wisp of dark grey smoke was emanating from behind the museum doors. I flew up the stairs two at a time, shoved my key into the lock and wrenched opened the door. Coughing, I wrapped my scarf over my                                                                                              mouth and nose and went in. (more…)