Climate Control, A long British Summer of exhibitions and events #MMClimateControl

We hear about climate change on the news and in the newspapers. How the ice caps are melting and how it is happening now. What can we do about climate change, individually and collectively? Is it too late? Is there any point trying? What do people want to do?

Climate change is happening all around us, but this isn’t the time to ignore it, it’s the time to get really creative. What thoughts or ideas do you have? What do you already do in your day to day life, and what might you think about doing?

Manchester Museum will be staging a series of exhibitions and events for visitors to explore climate change from May-September 2016. There will be opportunities to share your thoughts and ideas, to think about what a different future might look like, and what each of us might want to do to help make that a reality.  Look out for amazing Polar Bears and other Arctic wildlife, Peppered Moths, tropical frogs, opportunities to rebuild a model Manchester and a wide range of events and activities for all ages and interests

The program is part of European City of Science, developed with Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre and Manchester: A Certain Future.

Follow #MMClimateControl to get involved


Magical boxes of mystery



Most curators have somewhere where they keep boxes of objects that they haven’t quite got round to dealing with yet. For me it’s about 50 boxes of minerals that have labels on them such as “Duplicate” and “from Education”. Often these are not the best specimens and don’t deserve much time spending on them.

Since Nature’s Library has opened, I’ve tried to set aside half and hour here and there to look through these boxes and there are quite literally some real gems.

Here’s the contents of one of my favorite boxes  which I’ll be sorting through in the next few weeks.

IMG_0081IMG_0082 IMG_0083As you can see, some really incredible specimens with some fantastic information too!

Brian Cox opens Nature’s Library!

Brian Cox opened the new Nature’s Library a few weeks ago now. It was really good of him to come and support our new gallery which has been the culmination of many  months work.

Nature’s Library is a celebration of the amazing objects in our natural science collections. We really wanted to get people excited about nature and show how the collection is used, from cutting edge research into endangered plants and animals to public events.

Come along and have a look at the gallery for yourself.

Bye Bye bird gallery

The development on the Nature’s Library gallery has entered a new exciting phase: taking down the old Birds gallery.

The Birds gallery has done a great job over the last 20 years or so, but is now stepping down so we can transform the gallery for the opeing in April next year.
The new gallery will showcase some of the most spectacular birds, alongside fossils, insects, animals and plants.

Interning with Ichthyosaurs

Hi, my name is Anita and I’m a soon-to-be final year MEarthSci student at the University of Manchester. I have been interning in conservation and documentation under ‘Earth Sciences’ at The Manchester Museum for almost 2 weeks now.

 The focus of my time here is to work on the impressive selection of Ichthyosaur specimens (many of which have never been on display) and to identify them as accurately as possible.

 So far I have been; attending meetings, assisting in gem documentation, checking and updating Ichthyosaur records and preparing/conserving fossils for eventual use in ‘Nature’s Library’ (this process involves a review of the current condition of specimens including; checking for pyrite damage, cracks, general grime and removing it).

 Most time however has been applied in research looking for papers describing Jurassic Ichthyosaur type specimens and methods to identify species using various parts of the anatomy. Finding the right papers has been the most challenging aspect so far: they are often written in various languages and can date back to the 1800s making it rather difficult to get our hands on them.

Everyday there is something that leaves me in awe and all of the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, so I’ve really been enjoying myself!

Laser cleaning Ichthyosaurs

We’ve been doing some laser cleaning on one of our Ichthyosaurs ready for going on display in our new Nature’s Library gallery next year.

The way the laser works is that it burns off the years of Manchester grime, leaving the fossil in pristine condition underneath. As you can see it has cleaned up the creamy-coloured limestone beautifully and has really helped us see some of the features that will help us identify which Ichthyosaur it is.

Thanks to Jenny and Susan who did all the hard work!

This specimen is probably from Somerset and has not been on display for decades, if ever.


Nature’s Library

If you’ve been following my Twitter account recently you’ll have noticed me talking about Nature’s Library a lot.

Nature’s Library is a new natural history gallery which will  be on the gallery above the Living World’s. The gallery will explore why Manchester Museum has a large natural history collection, what we have and how it is used. The gallery will lift the lid on the behind the scenes collections work and show how important and spectacular the 4.5 million objects are.

The gallery will open in the spring of 2013.

I’ll be talking about this gallery loads more over the next few months, but in the meantime here is a great clip from one of our students explaining a bit more about the amazing collection and why it is so important. Find out more on the Entomology Manchester blog.

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