Who clothes there?

Tucked in a display case in the southwest corner of the Museum is a sculpture of an unidentified female figure, small enough to fit in your coat pocket. It is a replica of one of the most important examples of Palaeolithic artwork ever discovered; a 25,000-year-old carving known as the Venus of Willendorf. The Venus…

Boxes, Bags, and Bones

Looking through the collections at OUMNH never gets boring, but sometimes a drawer will open up to reveal something even more eye-catching than the fossils usually found inside. Whilst working on the Museum’s cabinets of Jurassic marine reptiles recently, I found something particularly surprising: a jewel-green box with a fantastic piece of art on the…

A GUT FULL OF SAND

During the summer months, the beaches of Mallorca offer an irresistible draw for tourists and palaeontologists alike. Visitors to the small Spanish island find themselves lured by its glittering seas, captivating coastline, and tasty white sands… well, tasty for some, at least! Following recent fossil excavations near the the coastal town of Estellencs in southwest…

A.R. WALLACE’S ARCHIVE NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

2023 marks a number of important anniversaries in the UK. Importantly for the Museum, it is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), the trailblazing biologist, geographer, explorer, and naturalist. In celebration of this bicentenary, OUMNH is making its entire A.R. Wallace archive available online.

Buckland Papers Appeal

Oxford University Museum of Natural History is leading a major fundraising campaign to purchase, catalogue, conserve, and digitise an important collection of archive material related to geologist William Buckland.

Re-collections: William John Burchell

Over the last few months, I have been working on cataloguing and rehousing the archival collection of William John Burchell (1781-1863). Burchell was an important early naturalist, explorer, ethnographer, and linguist who worked in South Africa and Brazil, contributing greatly to our understanding of the flora and fauna of these areas. He was also a…

The Beginning of the End: Do locusts still spell danger for humanity?

A few days ago, I was working from home when a delivery driver arrived with a strange parcel – a cardboard box stamped with the letters FRAGILE that seemed to be producing a peculiar, scratching sound. Tentatively, I opened the cardboard box and pulled out a plastic punnet filled with newspaper, old egg cartons, and……

One door closes, another opens…

Finally, the meticulous moving of specimens is miraculously complete; an achievement described by our Director as “beyond the Museum’s wildest dreams”. Now the last of the cabinet doors is snugly closed, we rest assured that our collections are secure and will be preserved for the public for years to come. At the same time, we…

The Prince and the Plinths

With the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the air, Hayleigh and Danielle reveal the royal connections that are integrated into the very fabric of the Museum, and reveal the surprising story behind our empty plinths.

A Fashion Flea-esta

The delicate art of dressing fleas in tiny costumes, known as ‘Pulgas Vestidas’ in Spanish, flourished in Mexico for over two centuries. It is believed that the craft began in Mexican convents where nuns would fashion tiny pieces of clothing onto dead fleas. An important point to note is that the fleas themselves are not…

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