Posted by: georginaferry | April 27, 2010

Favourite things

Another anniversary event is the exhibition ‘A few of our favourite things’ that has just gone up in the upper gallery, curated by Museum administrator Wendy Shepherd. Every member of staff (including me!) has chosen something they love about the museum, and written something to accompany a beautifully-shot photograph of the object.

Many have picked features of the building itself – the brass door furniture, the carved capitals, even the air vents in the roof – all of which were made to reflect the high ideals of the Museum’s founders. I joined this group by picking the 126 marble columns that surround the court in two tiers. Every one is different and has its name engraved on its supporting plinth, illustrating the decorative rocks to be found all over the British Isles while serving the serious purpose of holding up the gallery.

Others have picked items from the collections – Dar beetles for entomologist Darren Man, and for Director Jim Kennedy the ‘Sunday stone’. This remarkable accretion of alternating layers of black and white limestone was recovered from a pipe used to drain water from a colliery, and described by Frank Buckland, son of the more famous William. The black layers were deposited during the day when the miners were working. The white deposits were laid down at night, when there was no coal dust.

The Museum staff are incredibly hard-working and the public has very little idea of what they do behind the scenes (part of my goal with this blog is to bring some of them out into the light of day). ‘A few of our favourite things’ gives them a chance to express their love of the museum and give us a glimpse into their personalities through the choices they have made. Next time perhaps we might get photos of them too!

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