My Natural History Museum Work Experience by Jack H
I was fortunate enough to have been the 31st student selected from 2000 to complete Work experience at the Natural History Museum. Throughout my time at the Natural History Museum, I have learnt many things which happen behind closed doors, such as how specimens are preserved, where they are kept and how a museum operates.
Each day I was given new opportunities and challenges to face. The biggest challenge was on the fourth day when I had to help to give a guided tour around the Entomology department to a family.
On the first day of my experience, I was given a tour of the museum where I was shown the ‘Fish Tank’ where there was a diverse number of species these include both extinct creatures, creatures once thought to be extinct like the Coelacanth, which was rediscovered in 1938, and creatures still present today. These include the Jaws of a Great White Shark, numerous shark heads, monkeys, angular fish, cuttlefish, and different species of Squid.
I spent my time working with the Entomology team at the Museum to label and organise beetles into collection cabinets at my time at the Museum I worked on three different collections of Beetles from 1976, 1978, and 1979. I would remove the beetles from their alcohol, cleaning, pinning, and labelling the beetles, so that it could be traced back to when, where and how they were caught, the beetles would then be ready to be identified so that they could be placed with their other respected species in their collection cabinets.
Following this the beetles would then be digitised by the entomology team by giving each beetle its own barcode, the beetle would then be uploaded to a database where eventually you would be able to view the Beetles from the comfort of your own home. Below are images of the beetles that I worked on:
Throughout my time at the Natural History Museum, I was able to see many collections kept away from public eyes such as, specimens found by Charles Darwin, including his own pet turtle.