RAMM’s Hidden Nature – Heritage Open Days 2020
Welcome to RAMM’S Heritage Open Days Digital Event.
As the theme of this year’s Heritage Open Days is ‘Hidden Nature,’ our unique compilation of videos, photos and online activities, will help to unravel the fascinating stories behind some of RAMM’s natural history collection.
Delve beyond Gerald, our famous giraffe, and the other high profile 19th Century contributions to the museum to explore the sometimes glanced over tales behind our tiniest residents, the intriguing journeys involved in recent collecting, or the nature-themed inspiration of famous artists and sculptors.
RAMM’s Hidden Nature Online Tour
Image by Spike Walker.
Explore a specially curated collection of objects from RAMM, pieced together by our Curator of Natural Sciences. This collection delves deeper into our natural sciences collection, from nature motifs used in fashion to single-cell algae used as artwork.
The Montagu Legacy:
Discover the massive impact the tiny molluscs in the George Montagu collection has had on our understanding of natural history.
Join RAMM’s curator of Natural Sciences in this fascinating look into the legacy of Colonel George Montagu’s study of shells, now in RAMM’s collection and recently awarded ‘Designated’ status.
A Whale’s Tale
Find out how the chance discovery of a whale’s body led to the involvement of the Royal Marines to bring it to RAMM and reassemble the skeleton for future generations to study.
An Imaginary Voyage
Embark on an imaginary voyage with artist Steffen Dam who took inspiration from RAMM’s collection of starfish and sea urchins in Sladen’s Study. His 18 glass jars, specially commissioned by RAMM, contain imaginary sea forms made from glass that trick the viewer to believe they were once alive.
The Natural Gems of Harry Hems
Take an online tour through RAMM’s extensive collection of carvings by the famous 19th Century sculptor, Harry Hems, whose work is found across Britain and beyond. While Hems was noted as a practitioner of the Gothic Revival, many of his works were inspired by the natural gems of Devon.
From Hidden Nature to ‘On Display’
Ever wondered how the wonders of nature, after meeting sad and untimely ends, find their way onto display at RAMM?
As only the second recorded sighting in Devon, when a rare sora rail (Porzana carolina) was sadly found dead on RSPB’s Exminster Marsh in 2016, ethical taxidermist Jazmine Miles-Long, who works only with animals that have died of natural causes, prepared the specimen for display at the museum.
Watch the video of Jazmine making the mount below: the laborious process of washing and drying the skin, making the body, assembling the mount, preening and painting is condensed to just 4 minutes, demonstrating how these glimpses of hidden nature end up on display.