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Behind the scenes at Perth Museum


On Wednesday, I went to be a VIP at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. A lady at the museum called Linda Allan had seen me when I was in the newspapers and emailed me to ask if I wanted to have a VIP tour of the museum and I said yes I'd love to.

When I first got there I got a really cool VIP pass that said "trainee archeozoologist" on it. That was really nice.

First of all we went upstairs where there were some really old human skeletons that had been found in Perth. This was only the second time I'd seen human bones because the museum in Dundee has a human skeleton. It's a bit freaky looking at human bones, especially the one that was about my age and was dead. One of the people still had coins in his pocket that they used to work out when he died.

There were some dog skeletons as well of all sizes. Dog skulls look a lot like fox skulls.

After that we went downstairs to where they store all the exhibits. The museum has about 500,000 things, but they can't show them all at once, so they keep them in special sliding shelves. I got to move the shelves by turning a handle which was cool.

It was seriously amazing because there is so much cool stuff down there. First of all we looked at a moa skeleton. A moa is a bit like a big ostrich, and they lived in New Zealand

The moa was a really big skeleton, maybe about as big as a red deer, but the bones looked all different sizes. The leg bones were enormous, much bigger than a red deer. The spine and neck vertabrae were about the same size as a red deer. But the skull was tiny. If you just found the skull you would think it was much smaller.

You don't get moas any more because people ate them to death about 600 years ago. The bones are all that were left.

This is the skull of an Indian elephant, and that is me with a nice man called Mark Simmons who is in charge of all the bones and animals in the museum. Mark had a very cool job and was nice. The skull looks strange without the tusks. It is almost as big as I am.

Here's another animal with tusks -. Mark and Catherine who is an archeozoologist asked me what I thought it was and I knew it was a walrus. This was the bit of the museum where they keep all the bones on different trays. They had a tiger, a crocodile, a warthog, and lots of others.

Catherine was really nice. She told me loads of interesting things, like how she cleans up bones, and how she likes to keep bones looking a bit dirty looking. She told me all about all the human skeletons, and she said that sometimes she just did what I do and collect bones in woods. I think her collection must be awesome. This is her website.

One of the coolest and grossest things were some glass boxes where animal was in half and on one side you could see the stuffed animal, and on the other you could see he skeleton and sometimes some of the organs. They had those for a hedgehog, and a rabbit and a squirrel. They must have taken ages to make.

In this bit they had some owl pellets. Mum and I had looked at owl pellets before but we didn't find anything. But I'm going to try to look again because in some pellets you can find tiny skulls from voles and mice.

There were tons of stuffed birds. The one on the left is a golden eagle and there were a few of those. I asked if there any red kites and there were a few of those. They were stuffed over a hundred years ago. Sometimes they used a poison called arsenic to preserve the birds, which is why you're not supposed to touch them with your hands.

A lots of the stuffed birds were really old, but in another part they had a big freezer full of dead animals waiting to be stuffed. Sometimes people find the dead animals and bring them into the museum. Here's another stuffed animal that is supposed to be a wildcat but it looks more like a monster.

The wildcat that was stuffed about 150 years ago by the Victorians. The Victorians sometimes made animals look more scary than they really were.

They had tons and tons of red deer heads just hanging on the wall. Some had amazing antlers !

This is me with an ibex skull I found. An ibex is a bit like a wild goat with huge horns that must be really heavy to carry round. They are a bit like sheep horns because they can slip off the skull.

One of the things I didn't expect to see was a real mummy ! You don't normally get mummies in Perthshire. The thing that was like a coffin was open so you could see it wrapped in bandages and there were holes where you could see the actual body. It was in a special glass case to keep it safe.

The mummy case on the left wasn't real, though. It was made for a film called The Mummy which is not the one I watched but another one and I think it is this one.

I learned absolutely loads from Catherine and Mark and I think it was the best museums I have been to. After we finished they helped me with some of my bones. They said my woodcock skull was definitely a woodcock, but they weren't sure about the newt but they thought it was. And there was another bone which was completely different to what I thought it was before, but I'll write about that another time. Catherine was really clever because she could just pick up a tiny bit of a bone and work out what it was from. I hope to be as good at bones as her when I am older.

Everyone I met was really nice and really clever about animals and bones. After we finished the tour, I even got a goodie bag full of amazing stuff. Then mum and dad and me and Sam went round the proper museum and saw lots of great skulls that I'm going to write about another time.

There was loads more stuff downstairs in the stores. It's a shame you're not allowed in the stores all the time because it's amazing going to a new shelf and not knowing what animal you'll find next, especially when they are all so cool.

Thank you to Linda and Mark and Catherine !

Here's more about what was in the newspaper afterwards, and here's about some more of their skulls that they have on display.

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Anonymous said...

hi how do u find all those bones its alot!!!!!didnt it take u a long time! could u get me a place i could look well i live in canda never mind

Jake said...

Hi there ! I have been collecting for about three years, and I've been very lucky with all the bones I have found. Here in Scotland a good place to look is in woods where there are deer, foxes and buzzards. If you look hard enough, you can usually find a lot ! Good luck bone hunting !

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