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  • Specimen of the Week: Week 137

    By Jack Ashby, on 26 May 2014

    Scary MonkeyThe cost that museums have to dedicate to caring for individual objects is determined by a number of factors. If it’s particularly fragile or susceptible to the elements it might need to be housed in a controlled climate or stored in specialist materials. If it’s particularly desirable it may need souped up security measures. If it’s particularly large then museums have a whole feast of troubles – one giant object will take up the same space as dozens of smaller ones; they are very difficult to move; and they require huge amounts of equipment to prepare and store. This is why you don’t get 30m blue whales stored in jars – just think how much alcohol that would take, and how thick the glass would have to be.

    Fortunately for natural history museums, most big animals start off pretty small, so there’s a way we can cheat the system. If we use baby animals in our collections we can avoid the problems caused by largeness, and still have the species represented. This week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Forty-One

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 23 July 2012

    Scary Monkey: Week Forty-OneHave you ever looked at something you’ve not seen before and thought “What on earth is THAT?” I pride myself on my zoological knowledge, but no matter how much you know, every day is a school day. When I first started at the Grant Museum I was busy putting a thousand specimens on the floor in the middle of the museum, when I came across something quite unfamiliar. I could tell from its structure roughly what group of animal it was, but had never seen this particular thing before. It was beautiful, fragile and… dirty. (Some building work going on next door had been shaking dust down on to some of our specimens, tsk.) I am happy to say it is now beautiful, fragile and clean. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)