About Me

My name is Jan Freedman. I am extremely lucky to have quite possibly the best job ever: I work in a museum. I have worked in museums for over 10 years, and I am currently the curator of natural history at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

Working in a museum is unbelievably exciting! Every day I see the most amazing creatures; some look back at me through their rocky entombment, whilst others may stare back ghoulishly through the formalin which keeps their eyeballs in their sockets.

Large national museums have specialists in many areas (a curator looks after just Pleistocene fossils, and another curator looks after just parasitic wasps, etc.). In the smaller museums, there is one curator who looks after all the Pleistocene fossils, and the parasitic wasps, and the minerals, and the pressed plants….all of the natural history. In Plymouth, that’s me! The wonderful part of working in a smaller museum is that I get to document, research and conserve such a wide range of specimens. Plus, we also create exhibitions, develop science events, assist with the national curriculum by using the collections, and more! Every day is different, and every day is exciting.

This Blog will mostly have posts with topics including Museums, Thomas Henry Huxley, Pleistocene Beasts, and quirky natural history.

All views and posts on this Blog are my own and not those of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. All mine.

Follow on Twitter @janfreedman

Conference Presentations:

2017: ‘Your guide to great text.’ Natural Science Collections Association, Bringing the Dead Alive seminar.

2017: ‘Is Destructive Sampling Destructive for Museum Collections’. with Dr Lucy Van Dorp. Natural Science Collections Association AGM and Conference: Evolving ideas: provocative ways of engaging with natural history collections.

2017: ‘Safe handling and Packing of Natural History Collections.’ John Ellerman skill sharing project.

2016: ‘How to write good text.’ South West Federation of Museums Group.

2015: ‘Bring out your dead.’ South West Federation of Museums Group.

2015: ‘Game of Bones.’ Natural Science Collections Association, Bone Day seminar.

2015: ‘The benefits of joint blogging.’ with Dr Tori Herridge. Natural Science Collections Association AGM and conference 2015: Collections Unleashed.

2015: ‘The late 18th Century mineral collections of Sir John St Aubyn.’ The Russell Society AGM and conference 2015.

2015: ‘The animals of Kent’s Cavern.’ A guided tour at Kent’s Cavern, for the South West Geological Society.

2014: ‘The biggest risk to collections is staff not communication to each other.’ Natural History Museum Risk seminar day.

2013: ‘How to write for your audience.’ Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

2013: ‘Reviewing the collections.’ Invited to be on a panel of experts discussing collections reviews. Natural Science Collections Association AGM and conference 2013.

2012: ‘Safe storage of radioactive minerals.’ The Institute of Conservation AGM and conference 2012.

2012: ‘Wild about Plymouth: how to engage with the public.’ South West Federation of Museums Group.

2012: ‘An effective review of the spirit collections at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.’ Natural Science Collections Association AGM and conference 2012

2011: ‘Hazardous minerals in museum collections.’ Natural Science Collections Association AGM and conference 2011.

2011: ‘Taxing Taxonomy: making science accessible.’ London Museums Group.

2010: ‘Young people in Museums.’ Museums, Libraries and Archives, South West.

2010: ‘Wild about Plymouth, the family friendly natural history group.’ Natural Science Collections Association AGM and conference 2010.

Public talks:

2017: ‘Ice Age Herbivores on the Hoe.’ Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery Tuesday talks.

2017: ‘Ice Age Alive! Recreating Ice Age Beasts.’ Children’s University Science Week lectures.

2016: ‘What happened to the Ice Age Giants?’ Children’s University Christmas lectures.

2016: ‘An unusual museum enquiry: How public enquiries can lead to real public engagement.’ University of Plymouth, lunchtime talks.

2016: ‘Ice Age creatures from Devon.’ Grove Primary School.

2016: ‘Ice Age Hunters.’ Children’s University Science Week lectures. (Watch the full talk here)

2015: ‘Devon in the Ice Age.’ Exeter Cathedral lunch Time talks.

2015: ‘Ice Age Plymouth and the museum collections.’ Plymouth Civic Society.

2015: ‘The Ice Age beasts that roamed Kitley, Yealmpton’. Wembury Women’s Institute.

2015: ‘Plymouths lost Ice Age beasts.’ TAP, Plymouth.

2015: ‘Mermaids of the Sea.’ Tuesday talk at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

2015: ‘A window to the past: The Ice Age collections at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.’ Plymouth and West Devon Archaeology Society.

2015: ‘The hidden history of Kitley Caves.’ Emmanuelle Church Group. Plymouth.

2015: ‘Plymouth in the Ice Age.’ Children’s University Science Week lectures.

2015: ‘The Ice Age collections at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.’ Friends of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

2014: ‘Beneath the waves: the marine biology collections at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.’ Marine Biological Society, Plymouth University.

2014: ‘Minibeasts.’ Week long talks for Goosewell Primary School.

2014: ‘Ice Age Plymouth.’ Science Week evening lectures, Plymouth University.

2014: ‘Welcome to our Solar System.’ Wild about Plymouth family friendly group.

2014: ‘Skulls and Teeth.’ Goosewell Primary School.

2013: ‘A career in museums.’ Marine Biological Society, Plymouth University.

2013: ‘Fossils and Folklore.’ Manor House Home, Plymouth.

2013: ‘Plymouth in the Ice Age.’ Plymouth Civic Society.

2013: ‘How to find a job in a museum.’ Biology Students, Plymouth University.

2012: ‘Curious Collections.’ Grove Primary School.

2012: ‘Pickle Conservation Volunteering project.’ For Volunteer Day at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

2011: ‘Fossils and Dinosaurs.’ Padstow Primary School.

2011: ‘Pattern and Colour in Nature.’ Tuesday talk at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

2011: ‘Skulls and Teeth.’ Pennycross Primary School.

2011: ‘After the Dinosaurs.’ National Science Week lectures.

2010: ‘Plymouth’s great entomologists.’ Plymouth Invertebrate Forum.

2010: ‘Rocks and volcanoes.’ Ford Park Primary School.

2010: ‘Rocks and Soils’ Witchurch Primary School.

2010: ‘Sir John St Aubyn’s herbaria collections.’ Tuesday talk at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

2009: ‘Extinct: the animals lost foever.’ Drake Primary School.

2009: ‘Dinosaurs!’ Mount Street Primary School.

2008: ‘The Beetle collections of James Higman Keys.’ Tuesday talk at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

2008: ‘Lost worlds: fossils.’ Mount Street Primary School.

2008: ‘The World of the Small.’ Tuesday talk at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

2007: ‘The hidden world of soils.’ Prince Rock Primary School.

2007: ‘A cold Blooded Talk.’ Tuesday talk at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

 

Publications:

Freedman, J. 2016. Love your Lichen. In Summer: An anthology for the changing seasons. Ed. Harrison, M. Wildlife Trust. pp.114-117.

Freedman, J. 2015. William Buckland’s connections to the last surviving Pleistocene collections from Yealm Bridge Caverns, Devon. The Geological Curator. 10(4). pp.147-158.

Freedman, J and Evans, J. 2015. Working with the Public How an Unusual Museum Enquiry Turned into Travels Through Time and Space. Open Quaternary, 1(8). pp. 1-14.

Freedman, J. 2015. A natural solution to increasing engagement with our local environments and museum collections. In. Engagement and Access: Innovative Approaches for Museums. Ed. Decker, J. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 71-80.

Freedman, J. 2014. The First President. The Laboratory on the Hoe. Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. p20-25.

Freedman, J. 2014. Eternal Creatures. The Laboratory on the Hoe. Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. p31-35.

Freedman, J. 2012. Undertaking an Effective Review of Natural History Collections. NatSCA News. Issue 23. pp. 25-42.

Freedman, J. 2012. Safe Handling and Storage of Potentially Hazardous Minerals in Natural History Collections. NatSCA News. Issue 22. pp. 51-65.

Freedman, J. 2011. Type Specimens Discovered in the Spirit Preserved Collections at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. MBA News. 46.

Freedman, J. 2011. Storage of the Radioactive Mineral Collections at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, UK. Collections A journal for Museum and Archives Professionals. 7 (2). pp.201-212.

Freedman, J., Hodge, D., & Kearsey, A. 2010. The life and entomological collections of George Carter Bignell. Antenna. 34 (1). pp. 3-8.

Freedman, J., Fothergill, H., & Smithers, P. 2010. Wild about Plymouth The family friendly natural history group in Plymouth. NatSCA News. Issue 19. pp. 30-37.

Freedman, J., Buckland, C, Fothergill, H, Longworth, R, Smithers, P, Fileman, E, & Fisher, J. 2010. Taxing Taxonomy, Scary Systematics and Confusing Classification Interactive activities to make scientific jargon more accessible. In Science exhibitions Communication and Evaluation. Ed. Filippoupol. pp.150-187.

Freedman, J., Booth, J, Lunn, D., & Doyle, P. 2009. Museums displays in secondary schools: supporting topics on the national curriculum. GEM Case Studies. Vol. 2. pp.14-15.

Freedman, J., & Clamp, J. 2008. Natural History Display at Ridgeway Secondary School. Teaching Earth Science. 33 (2). pp.15-18.

Freedman, J., & King., I. 2007. Making Tracks at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival. Teaching Earth Sciences. 32 (34). pp. 12-14.

Freedman, J. 2007. Forgotten Heroes The relationship between curators and education staff reassessed. The Geological Curator. 8 (7). pp 335-340.

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2 responses to “About Me

  1. really cool blog. I can hardly handle how terrible those casts are.

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