My Week at the Natural History Museum – Day One: Zoology

Last week I was lucky enough to go back to the Natural History Museum (NHM) where I had already spent over three years working in the bookshop and volunteering in the science departments.  I was very excited as it meant that not only could I obtain a more comprehensive insight into the museum but I would also see many old friends, as well as hopefully make new ones.

It was a fantastic week and I learned a lot: things I never knew, things that I had been told differently, things I can use in my traineeship and beyond.  So much, in fact, that it will be very difficult to get it across on here.  All I can do is provide a general background to the week and hope that the accompanying photographs are enough to illustrate just what a stunning institution the NHM is.  For anyone who has ever visited it, I feel that these photos will shed some light on what goes on behind closed doors, as well as revealing some of the treasures hidden within its walls.

The week for me and my fellow trainees, Ben and Gina, started in zoology.  We met Clare Valentine (head of zoology collections) who, after a brief introduction and a discussion about protocols and procedures, took us on a tour of said collections.  On the way Clare regaled us with anecdotes and curious stories, as well as curatorial insider knowledge and handy tips.  This is where the pictures can say much more than my waffle.  I have uploaded slightly lower quality versions of the images on here but if you visit my Flickr page they can all be viewed in high-quality. Quick background: zoology includes fish, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds (entomology are so big that they have their own department).  Birds are mainly stored off-site at Tring, so we didn’t really see any on this trip.  Hover your cursor over an image to read any notes:

Thank you, Clare, for showing us these amazing specimens and places and providing so many interesting stories throughout the day.  The tips we learned will be very useful in the future.  Next up: Palaeontology!

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3 thoughts on “My Week at the Natural History Museum – Day One: Zoology

  1. Fantastic! Hope you don’t mind me swiping some of the comparative anatomy photos!

    BTW, just got an email from Clare. She says “if you and the chaps could could send me the dates and final details of what you want to do for the next visit I’ll sort that out or just confirm any arrangements you might have made.”

    Typing up my plan this afternoon!

    • I don’t mind at all BUT go to my Flickr page (link above) and get the high quality ones: these are tiddly. Although I’m sure you already did that. Thanks for the update. I shall speak to my people this week about dates and department…

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