The Museum itself was closed, displays are boarded over and exhibits are bubble-wrapped against damage as the leaking glass roof is repaired.
Darren Mann gave some of us a guided show-and-tell tour of the department, including a history of the collections, a selection of Darwin/ Wallace/ Fabrician and other types, and made some choice comments about the poor funding given to the natural history collections of provincial museums.
Thereafter people divided into various laboratory spaces to look through the collections, library or take part in a dung-beetle identification workshop. Much chat and good-natured banter ensued.
This was the first BENHS beetle meeting I’ve been to, others held in the society’s headquarters at Dinton Pastures have always seemed too much of a logistically difficult journey from south-east London. I might have to rethink this.
The day also put me in mind of another, similar event, held some time earlier. On 16 March 1985, Eric Philp organized a Coleoptera workshop at Maidstone Museum. Here we are:
Eric died on 8 January and I went along to his funeral last Tuesday, 29 January. I always knew Eric as a coleopterist, but most others knew him also as an ornithologist, or a botanist. As usual talk centred around reminiscing and someone else commented that Eric always wore his lab coat when working in the museum. It was almost his badge of office. I wonder if Darren has a white coat?