‘Provocative Practice’: New Ways of Working with Natural Science Collections

A 70 foot long whale skeleton hangs overhead a fantastic ‘collection’ of natural science curators, collection managers, conservators, and education and museum professionals, busily gathering around and eagerly greeting each other at this year’s annual Natural Sciences Collections Association (NatSCA) conference. As Natural History Museum ‘fly’ specialist Erica McAlister tweeted: “If that fell that’s most of UK’s natural history curators & conservators wiped out”.

NatSCA delegates gathering below the newly hung Fin Whale. Photograph by Simon Jackson, shown thanks to University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge.

This year’s event (#NatSCA2017), at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, had a record 110 delegates, and as such was the biggest NatSCA conference to date. At the heart of the conference was the new Whale Hall, part of an enormous redevelopment project of the David Attenborough Building. As many of us marvelled at the huge leviathan overhead, the rest of us rushed between advertising sponsor stalls, exchanged ideas, caught up with one another and most importantly, fuelled up on coffee!

Feeling inspired, we were ready to begin this year’s talks on the theme: “Evolving Ideas: Provocative New Ways of Working with Collections” as Paolo Viscardi, NatSCA Chair, keenly ushered us in to the main lecture theatre. Continue reading

NatSCA Digital Digest

natscaYour weekly round-up of news and events happening in the world of natural sciences

Jobs

Curator of Natural Sciences, Tullie House Currently seeking to become a designated collection, the natural sciences collections are looking for a curator who will get involved in ‘engagement activities, acquisitions, collections care projects, research, exhibitions and collection displays’. Deadline 10th August.

Curator, Grant Museum of Zoology Time is running out to apply for a job that has not been vacant for over ten years. If you think you could be the new Curator of this fantastic natural history collection, you have until 3rd August.

See the job page of the NatSCA website for more exciting opportunities!

News

The University Museums Group (UMG) are joining forces with the University Museums in Scotland (UMiS) to bring you Science and Society, their 2015 conference. It will take place on the 23rd and 24th September at Durham University. Bookings are now open so help yourselves to places.

Around the Web

A great blog came out recently by Jake of Jake’s Bones in which he says, I quote, “I’ve had a lot of T-rex action this week” in Learning about Tyrannosaurus. Now that’s a good week. Full of great images, Jake’s blog asks some interesting questions. He writes with the enthusiasm we all have but often don’t show, which makes the blog a great escape from the day.

Worth a look this week is an image on the National Geographic website (not that there’s ever really a day that it isn’t worth looking at). I don’t want to say much about it as it would risk spoilers, so I’ll let the image doing the impressing for itself. N.B. Make sure you read the caption, it may change what you think you’re looking at…

Something else definitely worth a gander is the tumblr page of Paleocreations. Past the impressive life-size Ichthyostega model at the top are eight images you can scroll through to show how Paleocreations produced the beautiful official artwork of Sophie, the most complete Stegosaurus skeleton ever found, for the Natural History Museum London.