Museums & Collections Blog
  •  
  •  
  • Categories

  •  
  • Tags

  •  
  • Archives

  • Springwatch in review

    By Dean W Veall, on 21 June 2013

    European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Image taken by Andreas Trepte. Image obtained from commons.wikimedia.org

    European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

    I, like many a young, curly-haired Welsh zoologist was raised on the staple of Attenborough documentaries, (I became especially obsessed with the beautiful scene off the coast of Patagonia with the orca hunting the seals). Springwatch, which recently ended it’s three week run, couldn’t be further from the sandy beaches of Patagonia. It’s been described as many things, Big Brother for animals, the original constructed reality programme, The Really Wild Show for grown-ups, but I think Springwatch is the most important natural history programme on British television.

    Bill Oddie and Kate Humble launched the series from the Fishleigh Estate in Devon in 2005 but Springwatch over it’s nine outings has grown into an vital part of the BBC’s output in natural history broadcasting. I recently highlighted what I thought were the strengths of some of the best science/natural history programming, a combination of real science and scientists, authoritative presenter and beautiful images to illustrate points. Springwatch has all these elements and so much more.

    (more…)

    Ian Hislop and the Galton Head Spanner

    By Subhadra Das, on 10 October 2012

    Ian Hislop and the Galton Head SpannerAt the risk of sounding celebrity obsessed; one of our objects was on the telly last night!

    A head spanner originally used by the Galton Laboratory and now part of the UCL Galton collection appeared in ‘Ian Hislop’s Stiff Upper Lip’ on BBC2. The second in a 3-part self-described ‘emotional history of Britain’ focussed on how the Victorians embraced the stiff upper lip as an empire building tool. Used to take accurate measurements of human skulls, this head spanner, and others like it, contributed to the colonial project of keeping colonials… well, colonial.

    As someone who has relinquished an Indian passport to take on the mantle of Britishness[1]*there are lots of issues I could talk about here, but I’m also a museum curator and so enjoy getting het up about very little things rather than massive philosophical and social issues.

    So, I thought I would 1) write and let you know that you can catch-up with the series on the BBC iPlayer And 2) give you an insight into the practical, professional and ethical aspects of lending an object for filming a documentary.

    It went a little something like this:
    (more…)