The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Science, museums and Venn diagrams

People who know me know that I can be a bit of a science geek at times. My twitter account feeds in as many science related tweets as it does museum ones. But sometimes a tweet pops up which sits nicely between the two, and those are some of the ones I like the best. (Obviously, being a geek, this is represented in my head by a Venn diagram.)

In the last week or so the New Scientist has been getting in on the act, and I was very pleased to get notices of the following three image galleries. First, and probably closest to my heart, was Natural history museums - a photographer's playground, with an eclectic and provocative collection of photographs, including artefacts on display, stored behind the scenes, and in the process of being displayed.

Next was Behind the scenes at Kew Gardens, which shows the importance of collections and archives in other organisations, and also raises the question of the place of living things within the museum world and of the crossovers between museums, archives, and botanical gardens (and another Venn diagram?).

Lastly (for the moment at least) was Art through instability: how drawings move the brain, which looks at some of the fantastic drawings by Hokusai and other 18th & 19th century Japanese artists, and the ways that they lead to our brains perceiving motion.

It's incredibly important to remember the work (including, but not limited to, storage, cataloguing, research, communication and inspiration) that museums do for science, especially in the area of natural history, but also in helping us to understand ourselves as humans and our place in the world more generally. So I say "Hurrah!" for the New Scientist, and long may museums, art and science nestle in the cosy space in the middle of their Venn diagram.

2 comments:

Jenny said...

These are fantastic! Thanks!

J said...

You should send the Hokusai link to Helen and Jen B!