Tag Archives: museums

Paolo Viscardi – Dismantling the ‘Dead Zoo’ | Friday 26th Feb 2021

On Friday 26th Feb we’re delighted to be kicking off a new season with an online talk by Paolo Viscardi, one of the founders of PubSci. Paolo, now based at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, will present Dismantling the Dead Zoo, streamed live on Zoom and YouTube.

Dead Zoo

Dublin’s Dead Zoo in June 2020 © Paolo Viscardi, National Museum of Ireland

In Dismantling the Dead Zoo, Paolo will talk about decanting the scientifically important natural history collections in Dublin’s delightfully named Dead Zoo during the coronavirus pandemic to allow building renovations to take place.

Safely moving large, historic museum specimens, such as whales, requires an understanding of biomechanics, engineering and even chemistry. It also requires a head for heights, a strong back, and very careful planning – especially in a 164 year old building where floor-loading is theelephant in the room’. And, in this case, there are actual elephants in the room.

Paolo will answer audience questions after the talk.


Paolo in Dead Museum Crop 16x9

Paolo Viscardi

Paolo Viscardi is a Zoology Curator at the National Museum of Ireland and a trustee of the Natural Sciences Collections Association (NatSCA). His background is in biomechanics and he is particularly interested in bones. He is a keen science communicator and has worked as consultant and script editor on several TV documentaries. Paolo, now based in Dublin, is co-founder of PubSci.

Viewing the talk: Virtual PubSci is hosted live online via Zoom. We also stream events live on our YouTube channel where they remain available for at least 28 days.

Like all our events, this talk is free to attend, but you will need to register with Eventbrite to access Zoom. We have included the option to donate a small amount when you register to help cover web hosting fees etc.

Ticket sales go live at 1pm on Friday 12th February. You’ll receive a confirmation email; the Zoom link is emailed on the day of the talk.

More details on the event registration page.

Important Note: We aim to make our events accessible to all. You don’t have to pay, and you don’t need to install Zoom – Zoom can be run in a browser and events are streamed on the PubSci YouTube channel.

Please check our Future Events page where you can also subscribe to our iCal feed.

Whale skeleton

Preparing to dismantle the fin whale ©Paolo Viscardi, National Museum of Ireland

Announcing the Return of PubSCi

Apologies for the radio silence – it’s been a peculiar year – but PubSci is back!

Following the same format as our Virtual PubSci in June 2020, we are pleased to announced the return of PubSci as a regular, live, online event (until we can meet again in a real pub).

Friday is the new Wednesday

As we now have a PubSci in New Zealand (run by former London PubSci-er, Hannah), we have scheduled our first few online events for Friday evenings so our friends in the antipodes can join us on a Saturday morning. This might vary in the future, depending on speaker availability. Events will be hosted live on Zoom and streamed on the PubSci YouTube channel, where they will remain for at least 28 days.

We are delighted to begin our new season on Friday 26th February with our good friend Paolo Viscardi, co-founder of PubSci and Curator of Zoology at the National Museum of Ireland, on Dismantling the Dead Zoo.

We continue the zoological theme on Friday 26th March with PubSci favourite Dr Erica McAlister, Senior Keeper of Diptera (flies) at London’s Natural History Museum and author of nonfiction bestsellers, The Secret Life of Flies and The Inside Out of Flies.

Scheduled start time is 7pm. You’ll need to register in advance to watch the Zoom events (to prevent Zoom-bombing) but anybody can watch the YouTube streams. Full event details will be published shortly on all the usual channels, where you will also find instructions on how to attend.

Thank you for your patience. It’s good to be back.

Richard and all at PubSci

Jack Ashby: The unnatural nature of natural history museums

On Wednesday 2nd May we’re excited to welcome author and zoologist Jack Ashby to PubSci, where he will be talking about the unnatural nature of natural history museums.

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Natural history museums are magical places. They inspire awe and wonder in the natural world and help us understand our place within the animal kingdom. Behind the scenes, many of them are also undertaking world-changing science with their collections. Their specimens help us explore incredible evolutionary stories.

But they are places for people, made by people. We might like to consider them logical places, centred on facts, but they can’t tell all the facts – there isn’t room. Similarly, they can’t show all the animals. And there are reasons behind what goes on display and what gets left in the storeroom.

The biases that can be detected in how people talk about animals, particularly in museums, is one of the themes of Jack Ashby’s new book, Animal Kingdom: A Natural History in 100 Objects. Museums are a product of their own history, and that of the societies they are embedded in. They are not apolitical, and they are not entirely scientific. As such, they don’t really represent reality.

Animal Kingdom cover hi res

Jack is the Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology at University College London. He is a trustee of the Natural Sciences Collections Association and the Society for the History of Natural History, and regularly writes and comments about the roles of natural history museums in science and society. His main zoological interest is in Australian mammals.

Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start and as usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover costs. Jack will also be signing and selling copies of his book if you want a copy (they’ll be going at £20). We hope to see you there!