Spitting feathers: causing a stir amongst the pages | Library and Archives

There are thousands of books in the Natural History Museum Library, covering the subjects of Zoology, Botany, Entomology, Ornithology and Earth Sciences. A book can often tell a story other than that originally published on its pages. This is the additional story written by one or more owners during its lifetime. Some people add a bookplate, record their name or dedication on the flyleaf when presenting to a loved one, others annotate text with comments or bookmark sections with ephemeral items such as tickets or receipts. Many in a collection such as the Museum Library include relevant additional information added by the owner such as newspaper cuttings, photographs and pressed specimens.

Photo of an ivory miniature portrait of Thomas Pennant from the right side, within an oval shaped medallion.
Thomas Pennant, miniature by Josiah Wedgwood. Image StephenCDickson, CC BY-SA 4.0

Edwin Rose has been using the Museum Library and Archives for research into his PhD. In this blog he highlights one such example, British Zoology by Thomas Pennant.

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Mapping the Earth: the bicentennial of the William Smith map | Shop at the Museum

A great icon of British geology is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. The William Smith map or ‘A Delination of the strata of England and Wales with part of Scotland’ brought revolutionary change to the way we think about the structure of the Earth and vastly advanced the science of geology.

As the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival (1-3 May) approaches, where this giant of geology will be celebrated, the Museum’s online shop takes a closer look at the man behind the map and what inspired him.

200 years old in 2015, the William Smith map changed the face of geology
200 years old in 2015, the William Smith map changed the face of geology

Who was William Smith?

Born in the Oxfordshire hamlet of Churchill in 1769, William Smith was the son of a blacksmith. Even though he did well at school there was never any thought of him attending university due to his family’s poverty.

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