The public only gets to see a carefully curated version of the collections at natural history museums.
Hidden from view, there’s a second museum, sprawling in scope, full of character and occasionally gross.
No place is more hidden than the Whale Warehouse. Go inside in the first installment of AudioVision.
"This blue whale skull has been here since it got hit by a ship in 1985, and it’s still leaking.”
This. Is. Amazing.
You know, with the level to which we today appreciate whale and dolphin intelligence, with their capacity for language, socializing, and culture, it’s only appropriate that we study and archive them in great numbers. Think of the diversity that makes up the human species, the mosaic of forms, the spectrum of identities. Would we be happy knowing that someone classified us using only two or three samples?
I think not. Glad there are folks out there doing this work.
Very thankful I don’t have smell-o-vision, though.
This video does a good job about answering some FAQ’s about specimen collection, large mammal preparation, and other hows and whys of natural history museums!
Clearly it’s impossible to answer all questions or address every issues about specimen prep and natural history in one video, but that’s exactly why I’ve got an entire YouTube series devoted to this kind of amazingness.
I’d like to visit some place like this.
Horniman Museum Natural History Bioblitz
The Horniman Museum and Gardens is currently carrying out a review of its Natural History collection. Inspired by outdoor ‘Bioblitz' events, the project aims to review specimens from the collection in a series of short, concentrated bursts, with the help of expert reviewers.
With over 250,000 taxidermy, osteological and fluid-preserved specimens, mostly in storage, the team have got their work cut out!
The hope is that by learning more about what they have in the collection, the museum can make better decisions about how to use it, what to celebrate and what to share with the world.
Visit the museum website to find out more about the project, check out its blog, or read a fantastic blog post from Project Coordinator (and my colleague), Russell Dornan, to hear about the ‘blitzes’ that have already taken place.
Photos by Russell Dornan