First day at the Natural History Museum

Figure 1: The wet store for large fish at the NHM (Photographed with the permission of the Natural History Museum).

Today was my first day of a week long placement at the Natural History Musuem in London.  Over the next week, myself and Kirsty (HLF biology curatorial trainee: Leeds) will be experiencing life as a curator in palaeontology, botany, entomology and mineralogy.  Today was the turn of Zoology; and we were given tours of the vertebrate stores (including fish and mammals) by Clare Valentine (Head of Collections for Zoology), Richard Sabin (Senior curator: vertebrates), and James Maclaine (Curator of fish).

Figure 2: The NHM’s Giant Squid! (Photographed with the permission of the Natural History Musuem).

It’s been great to hear such prominent members of the curatorial community taking on the current issues affecting the sector to do with funding, acquistions and accessibility to research.  Clare showed us round the new ‘isolation zone’ attached to the museum with freezers ensuring that whatever comes into the museum is pest free and ready to go into the collection.  It was also great to get a look around the mammoth (no pun intended!) stores at the NHM which blow every store I’ve been to thus far out of the water!  They certainly do things on a different scale altogether here; but hopefully I’ll pick up plenty of ideas to take with me back to Manchester.  Next up; palaeontology!

Figure 4: A living (but dead) fossil (the Coelocanth!) (Photographed with the permission of the Natural History Musuem).

Figure 4: James shows us some of his charges (Photographed with the permission of the Natural History Musuem).

Figure 5: A well-ordered shelf of study skins (South American rodents) (Photographed with the permission of the Natural History Musuem).

Figure 6: The Earth Lab (like the Darwin centre) offers visitors a chance to ‘spy’ on the scientists as they go about their work. (Photographed with the permission of the Natural History Musuem).

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About Trainee Curator

I will be writing a blog about the next twelve months spent as a trainee biological curator based at Manchester Museum.
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4 Responses to First day at the Natural History Museum

  1. Lush. I loved my week at the NHM. Despite having worked there before it was a fascinating week full of amazing objects. You’ll love your specialism week!

    Shameless plug klaxon. Here’s the first day of my NHM week 12 months ago (sigh…):
    http://biologycuratorialtrainee.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/my-week-at-the-natural-history-museum-day-one-zoology/

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