Home » Archive » What I’ve been up to! » Week of 18th Nov 2013: Trips to MERL, NHM Stores and Volunteering

Week of 18th Nov 2013: Trips to MERL, NHM Stores and Volunteering

So I was a little busy last week so it’s a bit late and thought I would just do a summary instead of loads of annoying little posts! It’s been a week of cold, unsettled weather (welcome to England!) which hasn’t help with my mood really. I’ve mainly been stressing/panicking/worrying about my future but I think I’ve calmed down a bit now! Apart from that I’ve done some pretty good things this week.


It all started off on Monday when I went to visit the director of the University of Reading‘s museums. As I want to pursue a career in the museum sector I’ve decided to get in touch with as many people that I can to get their advice on how I should achieve this. So I went to meet Ms Kate Arnold-Forster to see what she could say. I got some really helpful info, and basically I’m doing the right thing (which is always good to hear!). Basically it’s a balancing act between experience and qualifications. This has made me stress out some what, about how I’m going to achieve all of this but I guess I will just need to get my head down and plough on through!



Diagram of a Sperm Whale

I think Tuesday has been my best and favourite day as I was shown around the large mammal collection at the Natural History Museum (NHM). This wasn’t a tour of the animals that are currently on display but the specimens which are kept in storage! It was incredible! Half of the specimens were taxidermy, which isn’t my favourite thing but it is good to get a real perspective of an animals size.

There were also elephant, giraffe, whale and dolphin skeletons. Now this is what I found really amazing and exciting. These animals are so impressive! I love walking around their skeletons looking at the different bones and comparing them to the human equivalent. There were some amazing pathologies to see as well. For example there was an Asian elephant who had experienced some trauma to the cartilage holding the ribs in place causing it to ossify. There was also a sperm whale which had two of it’s vertebrae fused together caused by the aging

process – it was really awesome!

This was where I was lucky enough to visit on the 19th. Image from http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/community/nature-live/blog/tags/research

This was where I was lucky enough to visit on the 19th, including the Thames whale skeleton. Image from http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/community/nature-live/blog/tags/research

Also in this collection is the whale which tried to swim up the Thames in 2006. It was a beautiful but sad specimen which will be very useful for research. Click here for a report from the Guardian, here for more information about the whale from the NHM and an additional website.

I was so privileged to visit this collection and it just assures me that this is the area that I want to work in.


So as usual on Thursday I was volunteering at Guildford Museum. As a change from the normal entering information into a database I actually got to help set up an exhibition! I say set up but I really helped with getting objects out and putting others back that were going to be on display. This was actually quite interesting as I got to see some old photos of Guildford highstreet – I always like seeing how things have changed! It was quite cool though and I did actually place some objects in the display! The exhition is about food and trade in Guildford and there’s some quite interesting stuff in it.


One thought on “Week of 18th Nov 2013: Trips to MERL, NHM Stores and Volunteering

  1. Pingback: My trip to the large mammal collection at NHM | Beauty in the Bones

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