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Rearranging the natural world

Dean W Veall9 May 2013

Isomorphological forms

Isomorphological forms

Here at the Grant Museum we display our objects taxonomically (and have done since Grant founded the collection in 1828), objects are grouped together to reflect their evolutionary relationship to each other. This method of viewing the natural world has been with us since the Swedish naturalist Carl Linneaus introduced his work that classified the natural world, Systema naturalis, in the 18th Century. This method of classification has changed over time to reflect and accommodate current thinking in science, but primarily the principle has remained unchanged, grouping animals based on shared characteristics.

Artist researcher Gemma Anderson and a group of the public took another view of our collection based on her concept of Isomorphology.

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A “humerus” way to spend the holidays…

Alice M Salmon19 April 2013

Firstly, I need to apologise for the lack of immediacy in writing a blog about the year 8 “spring school” that I ran on behalf of UCL’s Museums and Collections last week. With my teenage years a distant memory, a bit of R and R was required to recover from the energy of 38 constantly excited 13 year olds.

Reconstructing the look of a plague doctor

Reconstructing the look of a plague doctor

That aside, it was certainly a week to remember! Participants witnessed a barber surgeon in action, analysed animal poo, and created their own alien dissection, all in the name of education.  They discussed the ethics of human display, philosophised over what makes us human, and took great pleasure in analysing the “worth” of a dismembered foot that had been consumed with dry gangrene. (more…)

What’s in a name? Outreach with a capital “O”…

Alice M Salmon22 January 2013

So the time has come for me to write my first blog post and, after an initial panic, I decided that this would be an opportune moment to talk about Outreach: What it is, why we do it, and what it actually involves.

Now I know that discussing outreach in this forum is pretty much preaching to the converted but, for my role, there is a distinct difference between outreach and Outreach and, although this might be incredibly pedantic of me, I want to talk about it.

Participants of the 2012 Language and Study Skills Summer School celebrating their achievements at the end of the two week programme.

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Specimen of the Week: Week Seventeen

Emma-Louise Nicholls6 February 2012

Scary Monkey: Week SeventeenA week ago, the Grant Museum had a special family activities day called ‘Humanimals’, part of our exciting, and ongoing, Humanimals season which is investigating the influence that humans and animals have on each other. Our activities gave our visitors hands-on fun with furry, scaly, and boney specimens. One of the activities was a table covered in a jumble of bones from a real skeleton not too dissimilar to ours. The cunning idea behind the slyly educational activity was for our visitors to re-build the skeleton. We had our replica human skeleton standing next to the table for anatomical inspiration. It was so popular that it inspired this week’s specimen. The specimen of the week therefore is: (more…)

Listening to what objects say

Rachael Sparks31 October 2011

The university term is now in full swing and lecturers are starting to prowl around the Institute of Archaeology Collections looking for a few nice objects to keep their students awake once winter sets in. So it’s been a busy couple of weeks down in the artefact store, getting material ready for handling classes.

Cuneiform tabletsI like to teach with objects. No, let me correct that – I absolutely love it. Even the most hardened student shows a spark of interest when faced with some small but significant piece of the past. That’s ancient dirt, right there. The ghost of another era. You know you want to touch it, go on, have a go …

So here’s some of the object handling classes that have been going on behind closed doors of late: (more…)

And now, a word from our sponsors: teaching and art at UCL Art Collections

Subhadra Das18 May 2011

A student views works on display at UCL Art Collections

A student views works on display at UCL Art Collections

Like the rest of UCL Museums & Collections, the primary audience for UCL Art Collections is UCL students and staff. Objects from the collections are a source of inspiration to students at the Slade School of Art, and are regularly used for teaching by lecturers from  departments from the usual suspects – History and History of Art – to English, Geography and Science and Technology Studies.

 

That’s why, this week, we asked some of the people who have recently worked with the collections to share their views. (more…)