Dinosaur prints and other fossils: my first week at the Yorkshire Museum

A key part of my PhD is a three month work placement (PIPS) which you can take anywhere you choose. I decided to go to the Yorkshire Museum because I’m super keen on science communications and I thought a place such as a museum would provide a really interesting take on it.

I spent a lunch break having a wander around the new Viking exhibition, discovering how Viking I am.

I started this week and so far have loved every minute of it! It definitely helps that the weather has been gorgeous and working right in the centre of York in the beautiful museum gardens really puts you in a positive mood (which given the last few months is no mean feat!). I have learnt so much in the past five days and can’t wait to delve more into this truly fascinating area; geology is absolutely not my speciality and I am definitely having to pick things up on the go!

I couldn’t believe just how many specimens the museum has, and such a wide variety of things too. From dinosaur prints to colourful butterflies to bottles of preserved spiders, it has been so interesting to see it all and I have made a mental notes that I really should take more photos.

The week could probably be summed up in three words…organising, labelling, cleaning. Anyone who knows me will know that these are some of my favourite things to do! I have been cataloging large boxes of different fossils (including ammonites, belemnites and bivalves — see, I do listen), labelling others with acid-free paper and special museum-grade glue and cleaning tiny bugs pinned into old specimen trays. I have also spent some time working on some updated material for the Fossil Festival, something of a challenge given my general lack of creativity but at least everything on the leaflets now lines up correctly.

Labelling the fossils is a bit of a fiddly process!

Next week I am looking forward to learning more about the Jurassic exhibition that the museum are planning. If it is to be anything like the Viking one (which is so cool, you should definitely go) it will be super interesting and I can’t wait to get involved. I am still not sure how I feel about leaving my lab bench and pipettes unsupervised for three months but I do think I am going to enjoy my time spent away.



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