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Posts tagged with 'science'

Radiocarbon dating World Museum’s collections

4 September 2017 by Jen G

Following news that World Museum could be home to some of the oldest human remains from north-west Europe, Dr Emma Pomeroy explains how radiocarbon dating is helping her research:

Radiocarbon dating involves destroying a tiny piece of the object you want to test. Although this will only leave a small trace on the object itself, it’s really important to have a good record of what the teeth and jaw were like. e before they were sampled to preserve them for future research. So on July 8th, we took the teeth and jaw to the Cambridge Biotomography Centre for micro-CT scanning by our colleague, Dr Laura Buck at the University of Cambridge.

Photo (top left) and 3D models of LIVCM 44.28.WE.3, a lower third molar (wisdom tooth), showing what is possible with the microCT output. Upper right: external surface. Lower left: window cut through surface to show inner structure. Lower right: surfaces made transparent to reveal inner structure.

Read more…

Lessons in 19th century life sciences

21 July 2017 by Donna

Over the last year I have had the pleasure of working alongside David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Earth Science Collections at Manchester Museum, in developing a new temporary exhibition – Object Lessons.

‘Object Lessons’, at Manchester Museum.

The exhibition at Manchester Museum showcases the wonderful private collection of 19th century natural science teaching objects and illustrations that has been assembled by art collector George Loudon.

All of the items on display were originally created to increase understanding of the natural world through education, demonstration and display. They resulted from collaborations between leading scientists and accomplished craftsmen. Over time many of these items have lost their educational function, but they can now be viewed from a fresh perspective and appreciated for their intrinsic and beguiling beauty.  George has built up his collection with an expert and detailed eye for the aesthetic and creative value of the objects.  Read more…

Have a blast at the BioBlitz!

21 August 2014 by Ann

6 spot burnet moths v 2

Join us on Tuesday 26th August for the Liverpool Loopline BioBlitz, at the Mill Lane entrance of the Loop Line near Old Station House, Mill Lane, West Derby, Liverpool L12 7JA.

What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz is a race to record as many different species of wildlife as possible in a habitat. Our BioBlitz will include bird watching, nature walks, butterfly and bee surveys, wildflower wander, tree trail and a mini beast safari. Read more…

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…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.