Collections take time to build and it often relies of the generosity of the general public and different organisations to create an important collection that can be shared with all that may need it.
Natural history collections and a lot of other museum collections rely on donations, these come in different forms: Recorders doing field work, to loans of works and private collections to bequeathing a life’s work. A lot of the Natural history collection at Tullie is built on these donations, they range from when the museum was established and built by local recorders to today where we still take donations including dead animals they found. For example this week we received a donation of a personal Arachnid collection, which was a collection of test tubes each containing a different species of spider that had been preserved in spirit.
This week I got to start to inventory the Derek Ratcliffe archives that we currently have in our collection, which is at present on loan to us. This inventory started by taking a look at the 9 volumes of Ernest Blezard journals that Ratcliffe had, these journals were biological records of his sightings that he got in the field. Each entry was a handwritten diary entry that described what he saw in a mix of field recordings to poetic descriptions on ravens, they also had a content page and an index of species that stated each page mentioned on. Each journal entry stated who he was with, the later journals showed that Dereck Ratcliffe accompanied Ernest Blezard on his trips regularly and almost daily towards the end.
On the final page of Ernest Blezards journal Derek Ratcliffe left a handwritten note which read;
“Here the record of a naturalists life ends. Ernest Blezard died on the 4 April 1970”
For the CBDC this week I continued work on the herbarium and their Facebook page, but I also started work on cleaning their species data for verifying. Which is a busy time as all the species data that we have received that year needs to be entered into the correct format to go on to recorder 6 to then be sent off for verifying, which is when the records are checked and then added to the system.
I also took the minutes on the CBDC steering group meeting, which in a nutshell is where a group of peers meet to discuss with the members of the CBDC what the CBDC has been doing and their upcoming plans. These meetings are important as the CBDC is a charity and therefore is run by a board. This means they need to be informed regularly of how CBDC is being funded, what work they have been doing and different plans/projects they have for the coming year.
I have also have been continuing to try and advertise the upcoming recorders conference and get more and more people to attend which has been working as the conference is almost full. I do feel it will be a great day though as I have had a look at all the talks and they look really interesting and I think would appeal to anyone who has an interest in nature.