All sorts of concoctions

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A lovely blog post from Gina featuring the Museum’s Materia Medica collection.

Biology Curator


My apologies for not updating sooner. My latest project has me working in the bowels of the Herbarium. Down a spiral staircase in the Herbarium tower is where the Materia Medica collection is kept. The collection is something like a cross between a Victorian pharmacy and an Ethnobotanist’s store room. The collection is kept in the Herbarium as most of the medicinal specimens consist of plant material, though we also have powdered cockroaches and medicinal leeches! Many of the specimens have not been documented, and we weren’t even sure what we had when we started. I’ve been adopted as the collection’s researcher and curator and I’ve made some exciting discoveries only a month or so into the project, including a calabash filled with curare, a bottle of sperm whale oil and some rare and endangered plants. There is still a whole cupboard of large specimens that will be tackled in…

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