All posts from 2020

In Celebration of Hagfish Day!

Posted on: 21 October 2020 | Category: 2020

VG&M Hagfish

Most people agree that one of the most repulsive specimens in our Nightmares in a Bell Jar display is the hagfish – but this doesn’t mean that hagfish don’t deserve our attention and protection. That is the message behind Hagfish day, which is on the third Wednesday of October – every year.

More than just a Cheeky Bum

Posted on: 16 October 2020 | Category: 2020

The Sluggard Close Up

In recent weeks a particular part of one of our sculptures has been getting a lot of attention: its buttocks. They have featured in the Liverpool Echo and on various social media platforms including one called @museumbums (yes, really …). But there is more to ‘The Sluggard’ than its pert behind, so let’s get to the bottom of the story.

Slavery and Snuff

Posted on: 6 October 2020 | Category: 2020

Snuff box from the VG&M Collection.  A smooth, round dark brown box with the profile of an African man's head. He has curly hair and has an earring. He is also shown with the band of a slave's collar round his neck.

Sometimes, as a museum curator, you are responsible for items in the collection that you find distasteful and even upsetting. And yet, they represent a story that needs to be told. Here is a little snuff-box which represents a huge injustice in history: the transatlantic slave trade.

Bone of Contention

Posted on: 18 September 2020 | Category: 2020

Skeleton specimen lit from the side in a museum setting.

As you enter the Tate museum one of the first parts of the natural history collections that greets you is this incredible skeleton of a python. The museum has a large collection of natural history including full skeletons of mammals from gorillas to tiny mammal skulls, taxidermy teaching models and osteology teaching models (real skeletons prepared and articulated and mounted on wood). The python being the most intricate and impressive in my opinion of the teaching models deserves this week’s blog spotlight. You can look at it for a long time and marvel at the amount of bones a python skeleton has, work out how they function and move but what is incredibly striking is the workmanship in creating such a fascinating model, who made it and why?

The Lady with the 5 o’clock shadow

Posted on: 3 September 2020 | Category: 2020

Detail of a portrait of a woman wearing a blue silk dress holding a jasmine flower with a white bonnet and collar. She holds a jasmine flower in her right hand. The lower half of her face has a five o'clock shadow.

Dr Amanda Draper, Curator of Art & Exhibitions writes … When I first arrived at the VG&M in January 2018 there was one painting in the building that hypnotised me. It had come into the collection in 2000 with no known title and had been descriptively labelled as ‘Portrait of a woman wearing a blue silk dress holding a jasmine flower’ by unknown artist. But there was an elephant in the room. The lower half of the sitter’s face, with its amiable if slightly pensive expression, appeared to be covered by a 5 o’clock shadow. They looked in distinct need of a close shave. What was the story here?

A Fossil For Friday -The Oldest Object in the Collection

Posted on: 27 August 2020 | Category: 2020

A trace fossil in sand stone of three footprints approximately 1 cm to 2 cm consisting of 4 digits.

We are almost certain that this footprint made by ‘Beasley’s type D2 Rhynchosaurides Rectipes’ which has been dated as over 240,000,000 years old, is the object that most accurately fits this week’s blog description.

The Mystery of the Floating Hand

Posted on: 21 August 2020 | Category: 2020

A man dressed in an outfit that resembles those of senior leaders of the Ottoman Empire

Amanda Draper, Curator of Art & Exhibition writes … As a curator who looks after art collections, one of my favourite things is working with the specialist conservators who restore and revive artefacts for us. Their technical and artistic skills are phenomenal and they can completely transform an artwork that most of us would have thought beyond repair. And just sometimes, simply cleaning a painting can reveal unexpected wonders. And so it was with The Turkish Ambassador.

75th Anniversary of VJ Day Liverpool 2020, Connections and Reflections.

Posted on: 14 August 2020 | Category: 2020

On the left a black and white photograph of Maurice Green and his wife Doris. Maurice is in his army uniform they are sat down together, his kit bag across his lap. They are both smiling happy to be reunited. On the right a black and white photograph of William Dickinson Davies sat in profile. He is wearing his army uniform and hat.

This Saturday the 15th of August is 75th anniversary of the Victory Over Japan Day, VJ Day, marking both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War. The surrender effectively ended the war and allowed British soldiers, who had been fighting in Burma and those held captive across southeast Asia and the Far East, to return home. At least 20,000 of these men (as well as hundreds of civilian internees) disembarked in Liverpool between 8 October and the end of December that year. The remainder either returned via Southampton or, in the case of a few, flew back and were the first to arrive home during September.

What's in the Box?

Posted on: 7 August 2020 | Category: 2020

A small box approximately 7 centimetres by 5 centimetres. Black worn material around the edges glazed top with scratches. A yellowing type specimen label with Liverpool university Zoology Museum typed on it and hand written class and genus attributes. Containing cotton wool like substance with tiny micro sized  fossil of foraminifera samples.

Sometimes the smallest of objects can tell a big story. This unexceptional little box is one of them. This box holds an important but minuscule marine specimen. It also tells the story of a 19th century eminent marine biologist who built the foundations of the study of oceanography here at the University of Liverpool. That's a lot for a small box!

Hero to Zero

Posted on: 31 July 2020 | Category: 2020

Front and back view of a commemorative cream glaze, earthenware jug with black transfer print of a Colonel Tarleton in naval unifom on one side and a female on the other watching a ship leave port.

Dr Amanda Draper, Curator of Art & Exhibitions writes … If working in a museum has taught me anything, it’s that history has different narratives which can change over time and one object can tell many stories. And so it is with this jug. It was created to celebrate military campaigns led by Colonel Banastre Tarleton, considered a hero in the 1780s. But time has reviewed Colonel Tarleton, his military career, his views on slavery and even his love life, and today he is perceived very differently. Let’s see how the jug tells these tales.


    In Celebration of Hagfish Day!

    VG&M Hagfish

    Posted on: 21 October 2020 | Category: 2020

    Most people agree that one of the most repulsive specimens in our Nightmares in a Bell Jar display is the hagfish – but this doesn’t mean that hagfish don’t deserve our attention and protection. That is the message behind Hagfish day, which is on the third Wednesday of October – every year.

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My first blog post

Posted on: 7 January 2019 by A N Other in Blog

A candidate applying for a job
This is the image caption

Hello World! This is my first blog post

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Keywords: A keyword.