AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship: Nature of Replication: Natural History Museums and the Circulation of Casts and Models
Based at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, in collaboration with Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH).
This project will explore and reassess the history, significance and curatorial future of natural history cast collections. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, plaster casts, models and replicas were key to sharing unique and rare specimens between museums for scientific scrutiny, museum display and as ‘backups’ to the originals. Starting with examples from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which holds the ‘Oxford dodo’, one of the most replicated museum objects in the world, this project would look at the cultures of casting and modelling. It will explore the different techniques used in manufacture, key individuals who sold them, existing catalogues, invoices and correspondence in museum archives and the networks of museum curators who commissioned, swapped and shared this material.
This project will piece together the history of cast production as way of sharing ideas as well as examining how museums can best record, promote and display these sometimes second class objects today. It also links to current research being undertaken by OUMNH explore the use of the next generation of 3D visualisation and prototyping in museum spaces, together with the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of user experience.
The studentship will be supervised by jointly supervised by Dr Alice Stevenson (University College London) and Mark Carnall (Oxford University Museum of Natural History). This full-time studentship, which is fully funded for 3 years, with the option of up to 6 months additional funding for related professional development, will begin on 24 September 2018.