My Week at the Natural History Museum – Day Five: Mineralogy

My final day at the NHM was only a brief morning.  We met Peter Tandy who showed us around the Victorian mineral gallery, pointing out how old the various fixtures were.  Most had been there since that part of the museum was built and opened.  The specimens on view now are virtually the same as back then (although they were stored in trays back then, they no longer are: they were removed when the specimens came back to the museum after having been moved during the war).  The biggest danger to rocks and minerals is from movement and impact, during handling or storage.  It’s also interesting to come up with new ways of labelling and sorting the pieces, since any one drawer could have 20 examples of the same mineral, with nothing much distinguishing them.  Yet they all need to be identified from the label that’s given to them.  That’s just one of Peter’s challenges.

We then had a look around the behind the scenes area, through what I like to think of as a secret entrance!  There were beautiful old, wooden cases with many pretty examples on display.  Here are some photos. As always, I have the full-sized, high-quality versions on Flickr (click here).

And that was the end of the NHM training week.  I’m back in September when I will choose a department and spend the entire week there, learning a whole lot more.  I have decided which one but I am waiting to see if it works out beore I go on about it. Fingers crossed!

Thanks to everyone at the NHM for all their help, support and valuable time.  I can’t wait to get back again.

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