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Microfade testing of light sensitive collections

19 March 2014 by Sam

Man with technical equipment and a decorative table

Visiting conservation scientist, Bruce Ford, testing the light fastness of a painted table from the Lady Lever Art Gallery

Siobhan Watts, Head of Conservation Science at the Conservation Centre, has news about some of the vital behind-the-scenes work that she does to protect our collections:

“What do a watercolour by Burne-Jones, regimental colours, Native American quillwork moccasins, and silk furniture covers have in common? Answer – they are all sensitive to light, and will fade to a greater or lesser degree when they are on display. Read more…

December delight in the night sky

9 December 2011 by Lisa

Here’s our Planetarium demonstrator and resident star-gazer, John Moran, to tell us what to look out for in the night sky this month…


Composite wide angle camera image taken during the peak of 2010's Geminids.

Composite wide angle camera image taken during the peak of 2010′s Geminids.

Who needs X-Factor, I’m a Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing when there is so much viewing pleasure in the night sky above you?

For starters there is the king of planets Jupiter, which you may have already seen but not realised. If you have noticed an unusually bright star directly above your head you have actually been looking at the gas giant with the great red spot. A pair of small binoculars is enough to see its four main moons orbiting either side of it. If you have access to a telescope you should be able to see the equatorial bands running through the planet. Read more…

You’ll never look at sharks the same way again!

5 October 2011 by Lisa

Here’s our Education Demonstrator at the Aquarium, Clare Allen, to tell us about her favourite sea animal – the shark! We have some great shark-related activities coming up at World Museum, so read on to find out more…


Face painting

Me and the rest of the aquarium team are busy gearing up for this years European Shark Week. We are particularly excited this year as we are screening the award-winning film ‘Shark Water’ as well as running some fantastic sharky activities. Every year we join up with The Shark Trust to put on activities for European Shark Week – find out about all our sharky fun this year on our ‘Wonderful World’ events page.

When people ask me what my favourite animal in the sea is I have to say the shark. They are truly amazing and charismatic animals, thought they are hugely misunderstood. They have been on this earth since before the dinosaurs and come in all shapes and sizes. My very favourite shark is the Whale Shark. Thought to grow over 20 meters in length it is the largest fish in the sea, but this gentle giant eats only plankton. Read more…

Einstein’s immigration papers to go on display

5 May 2011 by Sam

Lucy Gardner, assistant curator at the UK Border Agency National Museum, has news of a how a simple document – which is going on display next week – marks a key moment in Einstein’s history.


photo of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein during his stay in Oxford in 1933. © Senior Common Room, Christ Church, Oxford

“The Seized! the Border and Customs uncovered gallery has been collecting items which tell the story of immigration into the UK throughout history. Many people have come to Britain over the years, including some who were made to flee their native countries in fear for their lives.

A landing card that will go on show for the very first time next week is proof that one of the most famous names in history came to Britain seeking safe haven in 1933. Albert Einstein was forced to leave Germany when Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party gained power and began its brutal persecution of minority groups, including Jewish people. Einstein was already world famous for his discoveries in physics but the Nazi regime said he was an enemy of the state and made him an assassination target! Read more…

Nothing to declare but our Gene-ius

11 March 2011 by Dawn

This blog is by Bethan Mackenzie, a PR student and volunteer at National Museums Liverpool.

three skeletons of different sizes, one crouching two standing

It’s a bit chilly in here!

The Inside DNA exhibition at World Museum is an intellectual treat. Walking into the exhibition I am greeted by human skeletons showing off how far we have come. Our nearest surviving relative to humans is the chimpanzee, very cute!

Walking around the gallery there are loads of things to explore. The exhibition is very hands on, there are plenty of touch screens to delve deeper inside DNA and visual activities for literal explanations. One activity, where I had to answer a series of eight questions about eye colour and knuckle hair, told me “Out of 299383 people, you are only the 152nd like you.” This is always nice to know.  Read more…

Beastly Goings-On

11 March 2011 by Eleanor

Have you ever wondered what could be eating our museum collections?
 
Although this might seem like a strange question, all kinds of organic materials such as leather, paper, wood and even textiles provide a feast for a variety of troublesome insects!  At the National Conservation Centre we have a range of high-powered microscopes which allow us to look up close at many of these beastly bugs. 
 
Insects such as the clothes moth, seen in the image below, lay their eggs on natural fibres such as wool.  When the clothes moth’s eggs hatch into larvae, they feed upon the wool fibres and can cause tremendous damage.  Many other insects would also happily munch or bore their way through all kinds of museum objects if left to their own devices!
 
Why not come down to the Clore Natural History Centre in World Museum next Tuesday 15th March, 2.15pm-4.15pm to find out more.  Two of National Museums Liverpool’s conservators will be presenting a series of microscope images and specimens of the curious creepy crawlies that munch on museum objects. Will you be able to guess which bugs do the damage? Read more…

The Perks of Conserving a Wall Sconce

28 January 2011 by Eleanor

Now that I have completed the first quarter of my ICON and Heritage Lottery Funded internship in Objects Conservation and Public Engagement at the National Conservation Centre, I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite bits so far! 

Last October I started conserving a nineteenth century ceramic Wall Sconce.  “Wall Sconce?”  I hear you cry?  . . . A wall sconce is usually a bracket, or in this case a decorative ceramic plate with candle holders, which would have once been fixed to a wall to provide indoor lighting.  They must have been a very useful item before the invention of the electric light-bulb.  I have to say that when I first saw the Sconce, covered with bright and colourful floral designs, it certainly wasn’t to my taste!  But nevertheless my duty of care and curiosity quickly dismissed my initial dislike of the sickly design, and with the help of the Ceramics and Glass Conservator at the National Conservation Centre I began proposing a conservation treatment plan.  The plan was to carefully clean away thick black surface dirt which covered the ceramic surface and also to create a removable plaster fill, to complete a large v-shaped chip which was missing from one of the Sconce’s candle holders.  Read more…

Another chance to x-ray your toys

24 August 2010 by Sam

visitors looking at x-ray images on a computer screen

If like me you are curious about what’s inside your treasured posessions and how they work – but not curious enough to break them in order to find out – then you need to go to the X-Ray your toys session at the National Conservation Centre tomorrow afternoon.

I popped along to the last session with my trusty Rubik’s cube, which conservator David Crombie x-rayed from a couple of different angles in order to reveal the clever way that the pieces are held together but can still be moved round into all sorts of colourful combinations. Read more…

Say hello to Yoko the meerkat

11 August 2010 by davidl

Our Name the Meerkat competition is now closed and the team at World Museum have chosen a winner! We had some great names suggested – Florence, Meercartney, Scrunchie – but the name that really stood out as being the team’s favourite was Yoko, suggested by Charlotte Kenny, who came to World Museum on Saturday 7 August with her family to collect her prizes. Congratulations Charlotte!

A girl with a baby meerkat on her shoulder surrounded by her family

Competition winner Charlotte with Yoko and her family at World Museum

Charlotte won a goody bag of meerkat treats, presented to her by Stephen Rowlands from Tropical Inc, the owners of Yoko and lots of other exotic animals who visit World Museum. Check out the other names suggested on the World Museum Facebook page. Read more…

X-ray your toys in our lab!

29 July 2010 by Sam

x-ray image showing the outlines of a set of figures, one inside the other

X-ray of a set of Russian dolls

Have you ever wondered what’s inside a Rubik’s cube – or any other toys? This Friday staff at the National Conservation Centre will be hosting an ‘X-ray your toy’ event, as a fun way to show children how we use science to examine our collections. The X-ray equipment includes a digital X-ray reader, and is used by conservators to look beneath the surface of paintings, or inside corroded lumps of archaeological iron.

We’re inviting children of all ages to bring along a favourite toy, and we’ve already booked in a Transformer, a toy calculator, a pair of Ben 10 walkie-talkies, and a Pixel Chicks game, alongside the Rubik’s cube. Watch this space for a gallery of unusual X-ray images – and you can see some toys that we’ve already x-rayed on Flickr.

The X-ray your toy event will be taking place 12.30-3.30pm on Friday 30 July, in the Reveal gallery at the National Conservation Centre. If you miss this, there’s another chance at the same time on Wednesday 25 August. Full details of all our events and activities are on the website. Read more…