Welcome to the blog. I’m David Craven, Collections Development Officer: Natural Sciences, for Renaissance North West, and part of the research team. Over the next few months, we will use this blog to keep you up-to-date with the work being done, and hopefully engage you in constructive debate about how museums can make better use of their natural science collections.
In this first post, I just want to give you some background to the work we are doing.
New Light on Old Bones is a collaborative research project between Renaissance North West, and The Manchester Museum. It follows on from recent initiatives in the UK and elsewhere that treat natural specimens as cultural heritage, in particular Manchester Museum’s Afterlife of Animals project.
This is a pilot study working with two museums; Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, and Rossendale Museum. Audience research shows that memories of natural history displays are often rooted in local consciousness. Scientific objects can have rich social and historical meanings, and dormant collections can be re-invigorated with interdisciplinary research. In both museums a full-time researcher, Mark Steadman, will investigate the natural science collections, drawing out these meanings and stories.
Mark will be the main blogger, but you can expect occasional contributions from the other members of the team too.