Today the Youth Board was given a tour of the herbarium by Rachel Webster, the curator of Botany. We were shown the changes made to the area after flooding and building work and images from the hosting of the Alice in Wonderland tea party as part of the Manchester International Festival earlier this year. The Herbarium is the second largest collection in the museum and the possibly the best storage space for collection in the museum – however, we will be visiting the Entomology collection next month so we’ll see how it compares. We looked though the collection donated to the museum by Charles Bailey, James Cosmo Melvill, and Leo. H. Grindon, amongst others. The collection included botanical artefacts, pressed plants and illustrations. We were also shown books of dried plants created by Victorian amateurs called Exsiccatae which were intersecting pieces of social history. We continued up to the top of the tower which is unused storage space at the top of a long spiral staircase. Meanwhile, Elliot and Emma found some oddly large boots which were props from Jack and The Beanstalk by the department of Biology at Manchester University.
It was incredible to see just how much was collected and stored at a time when worldwide communication and travel had not reached the levels of today.