Identifying your finds
Something we get a lot of excitement (and sometimes head scratching!) from here in the Clore Discovery Centre is helping you to identify your finds. Every year museum visitors bring us thousands of objects they have found/excavated/collected and ask us to help identify them.
This summer Will Hardy came to us to find out more about some fossils he had found recently. Of the three pieces one was particularly exciting as it was beautifully preserved. It might not look much from my dodgy phot but this fossil is amazing!
It's part of a plant called Calamites from the Welsh Coal Measures and is about 300 million years old which grew to about 30m high!
Well found Will!
Over the next few weeks we'll be challenging you to identify some of our 'mystery objects'
Cardiff Creative Writers
Objects are evidence of somewhere, something, or somebody and as such all have stories to tell.
Recently a class of adults studying creative writing at Carduff University attended a workshop here with me in the Clore Discovery Centre. They took on the role of a curator and wrote their own creative labels for some of their favourite objects in the gallery. Here are a few examples:
Iron-Nickel Meteorite (Approximately 4.5 billion years old)
I wandered lonely, in a cloud of fragments, beyond the Martian orbit, since the beginnings of the Solar System some four-and-a-half billions of years ago. A passing satellite, en-route from Earth to who knows where, disturbed my orbit, and I fell towards the distant sun. Later, I felt the pull of Earth, and spiralled down into its gravity well – faster and faster until in fiery glory I blazed across the sky, a meteorite. Though reduced in size, I fell to earth. A fragment of the ancient history of the Solar System – a messenger from outer space – here I lie in The National Museum Collection.
What is it? Popular wrong answers include a drinking vessel or a paperweight!!
It is an axe head. Bronze Age man hafted it to a wooden handle and used the D shaped loop on the side for strapping. Butchering, wood-cutting and self-defence are among possible uses for this versatile tool.
A snakestone fossil
thought to be magic,
I was a cephalopod
with head and foot fused.
In life I relied
on plain hydraulics
a siphuncle curled
like a twirling straw
adjusted the pressure
in my chambered coils,
let me rise and fall
as I dodged ichthyosaurs.
Every object tells a story
Inspired by the most inquisitive visitor ever who came and really tested my knowledge yesterday (perfect mental warm up for all the questions we'll get about the collections over the holidays) I thought it would be useful to give some suggestions for things to consider when exploring objects.
All objects have some kind of a story, and objects are all evidence of somewhere, something, or somebody ans as such all have stories to tell.
So when you're looking at an object for the very first time, thinking about some of these will guide your exploration:
Is it real or a model?
How old is it?
Is it man made or natural?
What might it have been used for/by whom/when/for what?
Does it remind you of anything you've seen before?
Some of our busy school visitors investigated and explored objects in the gallery, through careful questioning and research they discovered lots about their objects. Here is a selection of the labels they wrote
Welcome to the Clore Discovery Centre. For those of you who maybe haven’t ventured through our huge double doors we’re a ‘hands on’ gallery on the ground floor of the National Museum Cardiff.
Come to us to explore hundreds of Museum objects: insects, fossils, minerals and gemstones, animal skulls, Roman pottery and Bronze Age weapons (to name but a few!) It’s your chance to get to grips with a few of the 7.5 million objects normally buried away in our stores.
These real objects can inspire adults and children alike. Over time we’ll be posting some examples of your responses to the collections and giving you some ideas to help you get the most from the gallery and its collections.
Why not bring your ‘mystery objects’ to the gallery and our experts will help you identify them. We’ll be putting our favourites on the blog and asking you to join in with your ideas.
See you soon!