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Displaying natural sciences specimens and collections
Wed 29 March 2017, 10:00 – 16:30 BST
This one-day workshop will explore how to create engaging displays with natural sciences collections. It will focus on information useful for smaller in-house projects, but include case studies from larger-scale displays and refurbishments working with external contractors. Identifying themes, creating stories, methods of interpretation and the processes of display will be explored through practical activities and case studies, including a tour of RAMM's displays with curator Holly Morgenroth. Methods for safely mounting specimens and documenting for display will also be covered through demonstrations and practical tasks. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion.
The workshop is part of the John Ellerman Foundation funded SWANS (South West Area Natural Sciences) collections project, supporting skills and networks for museums and heritage organisations who hold publicly available natural sciences collections in the South West region. It follows foundation workshop An Introduction to Working with Natural Sciences Collections delivered by the project team in April 2016 and is accompanied by other sessions in the programme on environment & pests; handling, packing and storage of natural sciences specimens; cleaning natural sciences specimens and working with entomology collections.
Who should attend?
Staff and volunteers who work with or manage natural sciences collections in the museum and heritage sector in the south west region. The session is suitable for those who have no or limited experience of working with these collections, or would like refresher training.
Max. 15 delegates
What will you learn?
By the end of this session you will be able to:
- Pull stories and themes for display from your natural sciences collections for a range of audiences
- Use practical tips for the process of display, from research to installation and evaluation
- Identify appropriate methods for mounting specimens, in house or by an external specialist
- Identify and avoid risks to specimens on display
- Use simple methods to label specimens with their unique museum number to prevent documentation loss
The course supports the following Requirements of the Accreditation Standard:
2.4 Care and Conservation Policy and 2.6 Care and Conservation Plan – your Policy must be based on a combination of preventive and remedial conservation, so it is essential to know how far to go when treating an object. The techniques you will learn will enable you to draw up a practical Care and Conservation Plan that sets out procedures and identifies actions to improve collections care in your museum.
Holly Morgenroth is a collections officer at Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. She holds a degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology and an MSC in Museum Studies. She is an active member of Natural Sciences Collections Association (NatSCA) and has served on the committee as treasurer for the past 3 years. Her particular area of interest is care of zoological specimens particularly wet collections (aka ‘pickles’ or ‘spirits’).
Bonnie Griffin has over 15 years’ experience working in the heritage field and has delivered multiple exhibitions, temporary and permanent, for both of Bristol’s major museums. She has an MSc in Biological Imaging, and a background in model making and set design. She delivers lectures on science communication and interpretation for Bristol University, Bristol Zoo and the University of the West of England. Her interests lie in audience focussed, engaging displays, cross-collection opportunities, behaviour change and accessibility.
Helena Jaeschke is an accredited conservator (PACR) who provides advice and support on collection care to the museums of the southwest as the SWMDP Conservation Development Officer. She has worked on a range of natural science specimens including geology, invertebrates, fossil and sub-fossil material, taxidermy, bone and shell, as well as associated scientific models and instruments. She has been providing training for museums since 2005. She is a Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation.
Isla Gladstone SWANS project lead and Senior Curator for natural sciences at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, and Roz Bonnet Museum Development Support Officer for SWMDP will also be on hand for the day.
Please note: refreshments will be provided, but attendees should bring lunch or use the museum café.