Iceland: the sequel

We’re doing lots of planning at the moment for our return trip to Iceland. Rachel Webster and I visited Iceland last September to see some of the world’s best geological sites and meet potential partners.

Iceland Dm

Well I’m delighted to say we are returning in August this year to focus on thematic collecting for the museum. And we are taking Curator of Arthropods Dmitri.

Over the last hundred years or so most museums have collected examples of lots of different things from around the world as if the museums were encyclopedias. We are trying to move away from that idea and collect new objects based on a theme. Last year we trialed this idea on the theme of trees.

Our trip to Iceland will focus on collecting objects, blogs posts, images and videos around:

  • Volcanic environments
  • Making land (how plants and other life colonise new land)
  • Sustainable energy and resource use

These objects and themes will feed into exhibitions, public events and research projects back at Manchester Museum.

We’ll be collecting as much background and contextural information as possible and interviewing a wide range of people whilst we are there, so watch this space to find out more!

Mid-Atlantic ridge graben fault at Pingvellir

Mid-Atlantic ridge graben fault at Pingvellir

Advertisements

William Buckland and Noah’s Flood

Another extract from our new Ice Age display:

In the 1820s and 1830s the Reverend William Buckland argued that Noah’s Flood in the Bible had once covered Britain, eroding valleys and depositing sand and gravel. Buckland studied fossil bones which he suggested were all from animals wiped out by the flood.

Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake, Iceland

Buckland taught at Oxford University where one of his students was Charles Lyell. In 1833, Lyell put forward a powerful case suggesting the deposits had come from melting icebergs drifting across a sea and not the flood suggested by Buckland.

Reindeer antler Robin Hood Cave, Creswell Crags, collected by Boyd Dawkins

Reindeer antler
Robin Hood Cave, Creswell Crags, collected by Boyd Dawkins

Glacial cobble Found near Oxford road, Manchester Originally from Eskdale, The Lake District

Glacial cobble
Found near Oxford road, Manchester
Originally from Eskdale, The Lake District

Thanks to Professor Jamie Woodward who helped put the display together. Find out more in his new book Ice Age VSI

Come and see the new display in the Fossils Gallery, Manchester Museum.

BmiQSj2IIAAXPdF.jpg large

The Adams Mammoth

I thought I’d share some of the great stories we have put in our new Ice Age display. Here’s the first:

Adams-Mammoth

The Adams mammoth was discovered in Siberia in 1799. It takes its name from Mikhail Adams a Russian botanist, who retrieved the body.

The fleshy body and thick woolly fleece convinced early nineteenth century naturalists that this animal was adapted to life in the Arctic tundra.

Mammoth bones had also been found in Britain and other parts of temperate Europe. Had Britain once been as cold as Siberia?

hair

Mammoth hair Yakutia, Siberia Russia (purchased 2001)

Thanks to Professor Jamie Woodward who helped put the display together. Find out more in his new book Ice Age VSI

Come and see the new display in the Fossils Gallery, Manchester Museum.

BmiQSj2IIAAXPdF.jpg large

Iceland panoramas

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.

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.


The new Yorkshire Museum, York

As part of my research for Manchester Museum’s new Nature’s Library gallery, I visited the revamped Yorkshire Museum in York.

Their brief was to redisplay the natural history and archaeology collections on a pretty tight budget. On the whole, I think they have done a good job.

Here are the things I liked:

  • The mix of taxidermy and fossils
  • The fabulous Plesiosaur and Ichthyosaur display
  • The bite-size story lines
  • The nice use of images
  • The view to the books above the galleries
  • The Roman mosaic, that you can actually walk on!

%d bloggers like this: