Three Days at Kew Gardens

heritage futures project at wheal martyn

External Partnerships – Three Days at Kew Gardens:

Wheal Martyn is partner in a project called ‘Heritage Futures’, an international and interdisciplinary research programme which aims to develop an understanding of ‘heritage’ in its widest sense.  I spent three days at a Knowledge Exchange Workshop based at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, looking at how different heritage-related organisations collect, order and categorize collections, in order to preserve their ‘future’.

Attended by a great variety of people, each passionate about the particular aspect of heritage with which they are involved and keen to share ideas and experience, it was an inspiring few days. The varied programme included presentations, tours behind the scenes at Kew and even the chance to have a go at pressing and cataloguing a piece of live plant material – the unlucky ones had to press a tomato!

I came away from the conference more aware than ever of the fragility of collections, the way they (and any related information) are documented and looked after – and yet reassured by the work of people around the world to preserve them and give future generations access to them.

The experience also confirmed the importance of my role to share my experience and knowledge of documenting collections with colleagues. I’m glad that several museums in Cornwall have asked me to visit their site and support them with their collections management challenges. Please continue to let me know if I can help you in this way!

An unexpected visitor to the office:

Whilst we receive a huge variety of people to the museum not many come to the main office. However, of those who do, one of the most unusual in recent times was a huge moth, which came flitting past my ear whilst I was deep in concentration at my laptop and landed on the window next to my desk. I was pretty startled, as you can imagine! Luckily it was a laid back kind of moth and didn’t mind when I put a glass over it and took it outside. There it sat for some time, quite happy to sit in the opened glass – indeed it was still there at the end of the day. Next morning it had gone.

I’m not very good at identifying moths. Can anyone help me please? It had a good 5 cm wingspan and the most beautifully delicate antennae.

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