Event Report - 2016 Round Up

Friends Assistant Eleanor Capaldi reports on the final events in the Friends 2016 calendar.    

As we move into 2017 The Hunterian sees the end of the highly successful exhibition, Skeletons: Our Buried Bones. Friends were some of the earliest guests to see the collection, a result of collaboration with The Wellcome Trust and The Museum of London.

Hunterian Director David Gaimster guided the group around the six skeletons, sharing their histories, origins and tackling the ethics of body exhumation for research and exhibition. This has particular relevance to The University of Glasgow, which receives a high number of cadaver bequests to contribute to scientific research and medical training. 

One of the most engaging skeleton stories came from the curled up female form found on the beaches of South Uist. In particular researchers were able to discern that she had a Vitamin D deficiency. This demonstrates how archaeology can reveal more questions than answers, given that someone in her position would have been thought to work outside and therefore exposed to high levels of the vitamin. This has led to suggestions that she may have been working domestically, and therefore stayed indoors. An answer has yet to prove itself conclusive.

It was also revealed to us that recent developments in DNA testing had enabled researchers in London to discover the exact strain of the Black Plague which one of the skeletons in the exhibition had suffered from. 

The conversation which emerged during the tour allowed Friends to engage in greater depth with the exhibition, an element we endeavour to incorporate across all our events.

We rounded up our busy 2016 programme with a new iteration of our Poetry series. Having first addressed the art gallery collections, on this occasion the objects in the museum provided the inspiration.

Fuelled by our sponsors Makar Gin, guests were treated to a diverse collection of work. Poems were inspired by the various displays, including the Antonine Wall, medical equipment, fossils, a dormouse, and our Mummy, Lady Shep-en-hor. As with our poems on paintings, these new additions will offer alternative ways for visitors and enthusiasts to connect with the museum collections.

The Poetry & Objects anthology will be formally launched with The Hunterian Friends in December, 2017, but those who attended on the night left with poem print outs in their hands. Thereafter, the anthology will be publicly launched at Glasgow’s Aye Write book festival, 2018.

First published: 29 March 2017

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