Bone Idols: Protecting our Iconic Skeletons is a critical project at the Grant Museum to conserve 39 specimens that have been on open display for up to 180 years. It includes the rarest skeleton in the world – an extinct quagga (a half-striped zebra); the largest mounted skeleton in the Museum – an Indian one-horned rhino; and critically endangered animals such as a gorilla, Siamese crocodile and Javan rhino. All of these are effectively uncollectable today.
Interventions will range from deep cleaning bones, repairing damaged elements and re-casing specimens, through to remounting huge skeletons. The biggest tasks are to completely dismantle and chemically clean the irreplaceable quagga and rhino skeletons, and then remount them on new skeleton-friendly frames in more anatomically correct positions. The work is intended to secure the long-term preservation of the specimens.
Using £15,000 already raised from Friends’ specimen adoptions, the museum has been able to start this essential conservation work. They have also received grants from Arts Council England’s Museum Development Fund and the Natural Sciences Collections Association. Altogether, this will fund around half of the work needed.
The museum is hoping to raise the rest of money with a fundraising campaign. If you would like to donate click here.
The Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL is open to the public Monday-Saturday 1-5pm.