Hi, I’m Neil and welcome to “Locker 19”, a personal and casual look at the Geoblitz project, featuring oddities that might not make the reviews – plus things which occur and amuse me along the way.
Who am I? What’s my background?
Well… I’m a clean slate (if you pardon the pun); this is my first job as a curator and working in the museum sector. I love all geological things but my interests lean towards palaeontology – pterosaurs in particular; I find them truly remarkable creatures and one of the wonders of evolution.
I originally studied and had a career as an artist, specializing in printmaking (etching, mezzotint and screen printing) and making the odd ceramic dinosaur… Parallel to working in education and exhibiting prints was an ongoing fascination with Earth Science; and I went on to study geology, in mind of having a career change. After graduating, I worked voluntarily with occasional palaeo digs in all weathers – even snow… The exhilaration of splitting rocks and being the first person ever to see the remnants of a life that existed millions of years ago is truly incredible and humbling.
On leaving my job in education, a colleague knitted me this superb stegosaur as a leaving present. I love it, dropped stitches and all.
A long time ago in a cabinet far, far away…
Well in 2013, I was asked if I would exhibit my vintage Star Wars toys in the collectors cabinet at Leeds City Museum. I thought it would be a great chance to recreate the scene of the Emperors arrival to inspect the new Death Star in ROTJ. I went all out and painted a backdrop (must be viewed from a low angle for perspective to work) and installed it in November.
We had great fun installing the case and each figure was held with “blue-tac”, just in case in got knocked.
On the upper shelf I decided to have some mini scenes: R5D4 malfunctioning and Boba Fett showing off his prize Han in carbonite to the other bounty hunters.
The exhibit ran for 3 months and is no longer on show, but I have the memories and a few photos.
The unmentioned specimens
In this section I will highlight some specimens of note that weren’t mentioned in the review or for some reason didn’t quite make it.
Here’s a great trilobite, a quite common Devonian Phacopid from Morocco. It towers above the rest of the trilobites and is relatively speaking a monster of the trays.
Below are two wonderful specimens that are worth a mention. Sadly due to a slight oversight they were omitted from the Arthropod review, due to being on display the the Leeds City Museum.
If reviewed I am sure they both would have scored a Gold award. Left is a fine sea scorpion – Erettopterus and below, a stunning lobster specimen from the Jurassic Solnhofen limestone in Germany.
Below is a weird and wonderful oddity from the Petrology review. The specimen has a small piece of limestone embedded within the weathered, coarse sandstone base and is sculpted by erosion. It was awarded 0 bronze stars and omitted from the review write up, but feel it deserves a mention.
Below are two amazing specimens omitted from the Mineral Review. Editing the results of this review was a tough call, as there were so many wonderful specimens that didn’t make it into the final blog post. So here is a worthy specimen of Hematite with associated Quartz, from the West Cumbrian Ore Field, England; scoring 1 Gold star.
Also a lovely example of the stunning mineral Lazurite. It contains very few pyrite flecks, so does not make it Lapis Lazuli, but it is such a beautiful and intense colour; scoring 1 Silver star.
The Palaeobotany review also had a wealth of material to edit down, whilst not quite as high scoring as the minerals. One of the specimens that deserves a mention is a silicified cross section of Quercus – oak tree, but has no accompanying data. These specimens are quite common and never fail to impress; scoring 0 Silver stars.
Below is a very interesting specimen edited out of the Ammonites review. A assemblage of some unusual hybrid ammonites – Eoderoceratids; with lovely preservation, in both part and counter part of the rock, but sadly no data. Scoring 0 Silver stars.
Below is a single scale from the incredible 7+ metre Carboniferous fish Rhizodus hibberti from Midlothian, Scotland. It is one of only two Rhizodus fossils in the collection, but is worth a mention. Sadly it did not score in the Fish review, but it featured in an animation we’ve made.
Much more to come…