by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer
with thanks to Terah Walkup, Art Curator; Lottie Clark, Curator and Jan Freedman, Natural History Curator

Today’s post rounds up a range of collections-based news which I hope you’ll find interesting.

You may have seen some of our recent social media posts about a project our curators are running with the BA (Hons) Commercial Photography students from Plymouth College of Art.

The students are helping to capture images of a number of objects from our collections and their work is producing great results. Here’s an image of them making sure they’ve got the lighting right before shooting some images of one of our terracotta sculptures.

Photography students setting up a shot of a terracotta sculpture

Much fun was also had when they photographed local TV icon Gus Honeybun recently.

Those of you who grew up in the South West may have fond memories of this much-loved puppet who is part of the collections at the South West Film and Television Archive. I can certainly remember a few childhood birthday parties being temporarily paused so we could put the television on to see if I was going to get a magic button or some bunny hops!

This image shows our Media Archivist setting Gus up for his shot, complete with him infamous wink.

Gus Honeybun being set up for some photography by our Media Archivist

Our Art Curator is working on a more in-depth post about the photography project which I will share on this blog soon.


Our curatorial and conservation staff have also been doing some work on our world cultures collections. This image shows our Conservator and Curator assessing a club.

Conservator Tonya Davies and Curator Tabitha Cadbury assessing a club

In the image below they are measuring a fly whisk – a tool used in hot climates to swat or disturb flies. I don’t think many insects would stand much of chance if they were swatted with something this big!

Conservator Tonya Davies and Curator Tabitha Cadbury measuring a fly whisk


Restating Clay 2018 Conference FlyerMeanwhile, the Curator who looks after our decorative art collections travelled ‘up North’ a couple of weeks ago to attend the ‘Restating Clay 2018 Conference’ at York Art Gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art.

She described the event as a really useful day of ‘networking and learning about all that’s happening in the world of contemporary ceramics’.

It brought together potters, artists, curators, academics, students, collectors, gallery owners and ceramics enthusiasts from the UK and beyond, to share their experiences and knowledge about the issues that matter to the sector.

Even further afield, our Natural History Curator has just returned from a research trip to the USA. His week-long visit was supported with a grant from the Art Fund. His travels took him to Charleston Museum, the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

While he was in America he gave a talk about ‘Ice Age Beasts’, had the chance to look around many galleries and displays, met fellow natural history curators and went behind the scenes.

Taxidermy Display at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Amongst other things, he got to see spectacular whale fossils, amazing taxidermy displays like the one pictured above, have a go at 3D scanning, discuss digital interactives and get up close to Tyrannosaurus Rex and Giant Ground Sloth poo!

Jan Freedman on his 2018 research trip to the USA

As with previous posts, I hope this roundup provides a small insight into the large volume and variety of work our curatorial staff are currently undertaking to help us get ready for the opening of The Box in 2020!