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Tobago: the final stop

27 August 2015 by Paula

The Tobago field collecting team: (left to right): David, Terri and Darren

The Tobago field collecting team: (left to right): David, Terri and Darren

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas, collection concludes her research journey through Trinidad & Tobago:

Day 9-10: Tobago

Tobago: the final stop in the herbarium/strontium collecting tour. Forestry officer Mr. Darren Henry picked me up early on the first day for a quick visit to the Forestry offices to discuss itinerary and best places to find the specific species we’re after, before venturing out to the ‘wilds’ of the island. In contrast to the 8 days it took us to sample an island the size of Trinidad; we managed to do the length and breadth of Tobago in 2 days.  On the second day, we were joined by trainees Ms Terri Phillips and Mr David Quamina, both of whom quickly became proficient at herbarium collecting – from labelling to GPS readings.

The iridescent Jacamar and the not so-small Longhorn beetle

The iridescent Jacamar and the not so-small Longhorn beetle

Samples sites on Tobago

Samples sites on Tobago

Tobago is green and lush, with small, quiet villages nestled along the coast – its colonial history echoing in the names of its towns and bays: Glamorgan, Culloden Bay, Hillsborough, Englishman’s Bay and, memorably, Bloody Bay – named after the 1771 battle between English forces and African slaves that turned the sea crimson with blood.  At its northern core is the Tobago Forest Reserve – the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere (established 1771, and consisting of 14,000 acres): we secured our last Andira sp there.  The ‘wildlife’ didn’t disappoint either – from insects to birds, the island is rich in natural wonders.

The coastline of Tobago, looking south from Flagstaff Hill, the Northern most point of the island

The coastline of Tobago, looking south from Flagstaff Hill, the Northern most point of the island

 

 

 

 

 

 

It poured down a couple of times during the course of our fieldwork, which made sample collection a bit of a challenge – but all worked out in the end, and we had 21 samples of Andira sp., Terminalia sp., and Brosimum sp., among others.  Thanks to Jameel, they were couriered back to the National Herbarium for processing.  Together with the 111 specimens from Trinidad, the two islands were well represented by 132 tree specimens. These benefit not only the herbarium collections of two institutions, but also contribute to building a thorough strontium isotope data set for both islands.

The project has built collaborative links with colleagues at the National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago as well as the islands’ Forestry Divisions, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside everyone. My thanks to Yasmin, Jameel (and family), Kim, Keisha, Necheia, Shavini, Safraz, Harris, Imran, Leo, Nayo, Jason, Darren, Terri, David, Hamlet and Cyril – for making my time on the islands so productive and memorable!”

 

 

Old Dock 300 Festival, 1715-2015

26 August 2015 by Paula

Image a Prospect of Liverpool, about 1725, is an oil painting by an unknown artist. The Old Dock is at the bottom right, behind the bridge.

Image a Prospect of Liverpool, about 1725, is an oil painting by an unknown artist. The Old Dock is at the bottom right, behind the bridge.

2015 is the 300th anniversary of Liverpool’s Old Dock – the world’s first enclosed commercial wet dock. The Old Dock was discovered during excavations in 2001 after being buried since 1826. Developers Grosvenor preserved the dock and has made it publicly accessible as an important reminder of Liverpool’s historic status. The Merseyside Maritime Museum offers free guided tours of the carefully preserved Old Dock under Liverpool One on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the year. Read more…

Tide predicting machines restored and re-displayed

26 August 2015 by Felicity

Test programming of the Roberts-Légé tide predicting machine (left to right: Steve Newman, Metals Conservation at National Museums Liverpool; Sylvia Asquith & Valerie Doodson (daughter-in-law of Arthur Doodson), both part of the original team of programmers of the machines, and Ian Vassie and Prof. Phil Woodworth, tidal scientists formerly working for the National Oceanographic Centre.

Test programming of the Roberts-Légé tide predicting machine (left to right: Steve Newman, Metals Conservation at National Museums Liverpool; Sylvia Asquith & Valerie Doodson (daughter-in-law of Arthur Doodson), both part of the original team of programmers of the machines, and Ian Vassie and Prof. Phil Woodworth, tidal scientists formerly working for the National Oceanographic Centre.

Restoring two of the most significant tide predicting machines ever built to their former working glory was a challenge recently undertaken by members of our conservation team. In this post, Steve Newman, head of metals conservation at National Museums Liverpool, talks us though the importance of the machines, which are now on display at the National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) on Brownlow Street, part of the University of Liverpool campus. Read more…

No rainbows but plenty of rain!

25 August 2015 by Paula

Clouds loomed and it started to rain

Clouds loomed and it started to rain

Tony Hunter, assistant Curator of Entomology updates us on the search for the Rainbow Leaf Beetle on Snowdon:

“We left Liverpool on a lovely sunny morning and despite the weather forecast we were hopeful of a fine day, but as we approached Snowdon along the A5 dark clouds loomed and it started to rain. Read more…

Bread – Home to Roost

24 August 2015 by Kay

Ceramic chicken

If you watched the TV programme, Bread in the 1980s and early 90s, this hen ceramic egg holder may seem familiar.

Whilst it isn’t the exact same hen which graced the Boswell family’s kitchen table, into which the family put their financial contributions in the opening credits of each episode, this special hen was presented to local actress Katy Carmichael after filming the final episode of Bread in November 1991. Katy, who starred as Connie – Billy Boswell’s girlfriend in Season 7 – was given the hen as a memento and thank you by the Liverpool-born writer of Bread, Carla Lane. Read more…

Slavery Remembrance: Family Day – Saturday 22 August

22 August 2015 by Sarah

paper-moon-screen-printingSlavery Remembrance Day is an opportunity to commemorate, remember and celebrate. Our Family Day on Saturday 22 August gives the opportunity for all three of those things, and we have lots of free, drop-in events from 1-4pm for all the family to enjoy together. Here, Mitty Ramachandran, Education Demonstrator at National Museums Liverpool tells you what we have in store:

“I’m not quite sure how it’s August already, but we’re really excited to be gearing up for our Slavery Remembrance Family Day today. Here’s a run down of what we’ll be offering at the International Slavery Museum (accessed via the Merseyside Maritime Museum front entrance)….

There will be a screen printing workshop Celebrating Symbols with our creative friends from the Paper Moon print studio, focusing on West African Adinkra symbols (see picture) and the meanings behind each of them. You can take part in creating a big artwork for us to display and also make your own flag to take home. This is great chance to get creative and is suitable for ages 5+. This will be on the second floor (in the Merseyside Maritime Museum) in Learning base 2.

All of the other events are suitable for all ages and will be in the International Slavery Museum itself (accessible via the Merseyside Maritime Museum, 3rd floor)! In the Igbo compound, Sidiki Dembele will be returning with his captivating performance using a djembe drum and also the Kamelen, which is a West African harp. In the Anthony Walker Education Centre we’ll be thinking about our hopes and dreams for the future and creating a big artwork called Hands of Change.

Further into the International Slavery Museum, by the Black Achievers Wall, we’ll be creating Brilliant Badges, inspired by some of the incredible people who you can find on our wall. We will also have our incredible face-painter Janet joining us so if you’d like to be transformed in a lion or a lily, she is the lady to see!

We really enjoy the Slavery Remembrance: Family Day at the International Slavery Museum, and with so much going on this year, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! If you’d like to find out more about what is happening for Slavery Remembrance Day this year you can visit our website.”

A Black History of Britain?

21 August 2015 by Sarah

David Olusoga

David Olusoga

British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster and film-maker, David Olusoga is delivering the keynote lecture this evening at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, as part of a weekend of free events to commemorate Slavery Remembrance Day on Sunday 23 August.  Read more…

Slavery Remembrance Day: unless we remember, it will not end

20 August 2015 by Richard

Dorothy Kuya with Paul Robeson, Jr. 2007

Dorothy Kuya with Paul Robeson, Jr. 2007

Ahead of Slavery Remembrance Day on Sunday 23 August, Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum, explains the background to the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture, and writes on the importance of this annual commemoration:  Read more…

The central South West: ‘five-fingers’, ‘fat pork’ and tamarind sours

20 August 2015 by Paula

Waterloo temple

Waterloo temple

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas Collection, is on the last leg of her research trip to Trinidad before heading over to Tobago:

Day 7-8: The central South West: ‘five-fingers’, ‘fat pork’ and tamarind sours

Our last area was the central South West, one of the island’s more geologically complex regions, with both Tertiary and Cretaceous sedimentary bedrock.  This was among the oldest geology on the island, and generally, the older the geology, the higher the expected strontium isotope values.  We covered a large region over the course of two days, from Waterloo in the north to Moruga on the south coast, finishing off on the important archaeological site of Banwari Trace, home of ‘Banwari Woman’, thought to date to ca. 5000 BC, which would make her the oldest human skeleton known from the entire Caribbean. Read more…

Symbolism in Art

19 August 2015 by Megan

WAG-304---Love's-Palace-bloHave you ever wondered what something in a painting means, or what the artist intended to say?

Take the image on the left, a detail from J.M. Strudwick’s Love’s Palace (in the Drawing Room at Sudley House). Can you see the bubble? Do you know what it means? Read more…

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