Skip to content

exploration

Many objects in our collections weren’t really meant to survive the long-term. Food stuffs are such an example. While food packaging is commonly found in museum collections, food itself is rarer. And if uneaten during their pre-museum life, these objects remain vulnerable. Destructive pests like the Biscuit beetle are so named for a reason. Within our stores are a number of foody objects, collected for a variety of reasons and which have so far eluded the appetites of both the […]

Reading Trilce’s recent post, I was reminded of objects from Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition within our vast medical collections. Simple items and anonymous fragments, easily overlooked on their storeroom shelves. But they are reminders of one of the most obvious, yet magical things about museum collections – even the most mundane looking objects can be transformed through association. This razor belonged to a member of Franklin’s team. Physically, it’s virtually indistinguishable from others in our collections. But by association, this simple and very […]

In my previous post I mentioned Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to the Canadian Arctic, on which the HM ships Erebus and Terror tragically disappeared with all 129 men on board after the summer of 1845. While we wait and see what Canada’s renewed rescue efforts might discover about Franklin’s last journey, I think there are some items from his more successful voyages in the Science Museum’s stores that deserve a closer look. One such object is a variation compass and […]

I’ve been rummaging through the Science Museum’s collections looking for objects related to terrestrial magnetism and scientific expeditions. I smiled when I came across the musical scores for “Northward Ho! or Baffled not Beaten” in a popular song catalogue from 1875 – it really brought home just how much Arctic exploration captured people’s imaginations in the second half of the nineteenth century. Commander John P. Cheyne of the Royal Navy, who penned the words for this dashing tune, was himself an Arctic […]