Curator’s Blog – Rediscovering Our Collections

Curator’s Blog – Rediscovering Our Collections

It’s been a busy couple of weeks focusing on our natural history collections since my last post. Last week I attended a meeting with other museums from the region who are taking part in an Esmée Fairbairn funded project entitled ‘Encountering the Unexpected’. The project is all about connecting older people to nature and it was a really interesting meeting with lots of good ideas and things to think about. I’ll be developing The Atkinson’s mini project as part of this more in the New Year but the meeting definitely gave me a lot of food for thought!

Last week I also went with some of our volunteers on a research trip to World Museum Liverpool to look at their displays of natural history and get some ideas on the kind of things that we like and also some idea of what we don’t want to do, which is often just as useful. The curator there, Tony Parker, kindly met us and gave us a tour around the store which was really useful and again gave us lots of things to think about.

Still on the natural history theme, I’ve had some really interesting meetings with colleagues from Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Natural England about our plans to redevelop the museum corridor on the top floor. This space is going to be all about the natural history of the Sefton Coast and it’s been fascinating learning all about the important designations that we have here in Sefton and also the fact that our sand dune system is incredibly rare, in fact it’s rarer than the rainforests! Our coast is amazing and this is something that we want to share with visitors to The Atkinson when we redevelop this space.

Some good news I’ve had this week linked to the museum corridor development is that we have been awarded a grant by the Royal Society as part of their Local Heroes funding scheme. Our local hero is Bessie Downes who painted incredibly accurate watercolours of local fauna and flora in the early 1900s. The funding from the Royal Society enables us to create a touchscreen interactive highlighting Bessie’s watercolours, which will be permanently placed on the museum corridor so that everyone can learn about Bessie and see her beautiful paintings.

This week I’ve spent all week organising our natural history store. I’ve been working with Tom, our British Museum Trainee, moving specimens around so that we can get new shelving in the store and generally organise it a bit better as it was a bit cramped before. I’ve attached a picture below of the work in progress with Tom busy organising the specimens. It’s been a really tiring week as some of the specimens are quite heavy but it’s also been very rewarding seeing the store getting better organised and more useable.

This is my last post before Christmas so I’d just like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Nicola Euston

Museum Manager

Posted on 9 December 2016 under Exhibitions, Museum

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