The CCRI’s current placement student has been volunteering at a local museum as part of their personal development time which is encouraged during their time working here.
Living a few roads over from a natural history museum which is nestled in a row of 15th Century cottages seems about as quaint as it gets. Such are my current arrangements in Tewkesbury, providing the ideal place to spend my personal development time whilst working as the CCRI’s placement student.
To give a bit of context, the John Moore Museum was opened in 1980 as a memorial to the local writer, John Moore (1907-1967), who produced extensive works about the town and its local environment. Today, it houses items relating to the writer himself and the town’s history as a rural community, as well as a large of collection of taxidermy (many pieces created by a local artist in Stroud, Taxtiles, and all ethically sourced).
Unsure exactly what I’d be getting involved with, my first day was straight into inspecting some of their taxidermy specimens for evidence of insect damage and general wear. As an ecology student, getting so close to some of my favourite species like the Green Woodpecker is thrilling. Given that many of their pieces are older than me, most of them seem to be in surprisingly good condition and the only individual we discovered possible insect casings on was quickly condemned to time in the deep freeze.
Going forward with the Museum, I’m keen to see how places like this help the public connect with natural history. Seeing creatures up so close when many species are so fleeting and skittish in the wild (or sadly greatly reduced in numbers, like the Red Squirrel) is a great way to introduce and enthuse people about the environment around them. In the new year, I’m also looking forward to getting involved with some of their outreach sessions in primary schools and subjecting some unfortunate taxidermy specimens to sticky fingers and inquisitive poking.
You can visit the John Moore museum website here, which provides details of exhibits, events and opening hours.