Sunday, August 01, 2010

Museological Ramblings Part Un.

Why do I like museums. I can’t really say it’s a passion but it might evolve into that as time goes by I’m sure. That is unless it fizzle out and dies. Bah.

Anyways, my love story with museums begins with, as with any good story, an introduction. And my introduction starts off with my morbid fascination with pinned insects. The kind u see in, well, museums. I find it utterly enchanting and strangely beautiful that these insects are somewhat frozen in time, displaying their beautiful exoskeletons for all time. A snapshot if u will. Although the process of making these specimens is less than enchanting.

First u have to catch these little buggers. This involves getting into the bush and being all stealthy like a panther. And if they notice u creeping up on them and fly away, then u start the chase. Which consists running around the field or bush with nets like a mad men ( especially if u are in the business of catching butterflies). I’m pretty sure that expert bug catchers don’t spend their time running around in the bush or fields after bugs. But there is something quite childishly satisfying about running around a field with a net and laughing and screaming ur head off. Highly therapeutic. I must add though that this is only for flying bugs. Jumpy and crawly bugs are way easier to catch.

Once u do eventually catch them, u must be gentle and not damage them coz who wants a damaged butterfly or a 4 legged grasshopper? I dun think so. So once u caught them u have to kill them. Basically u can either kill them on the spot or kill them later. If u plan to snuff them on the spot them u have a killing jar which is basically a jar with a tight fitting lid with plaster of paris at the bottom with a few drops of ethyl acetate. That’s a lot of “withs” phew! Entomologists used to use Potassium cyanide but I guess some people died so they stopped. Another method used for grubs and beetles and other such tough insects is a bottle of alchohol. No not vodka. Although that would work just fine I think.

Now if u don’t access to lovely noxious insect killing chemicals or alcohol then u are left with sticking them in the freezer. Yup in the freezer. Put them in a container and stick them in the freezer. For ooohhh and hour or two. If u really wanna make sure that they die I would put them in there over night. There have been hilarious scenes of insects waking up as u pin them. Horrific but also hilarious.

Well once they are dead then u spread em out and pin them. There are various different ways to pin them according to what type of insect they are and u can find that out by googling. I must say that I only collect specimens when it’s necessary, in this case for my class assignments. I don’t pin insects just for the fun of it.

Oooh seems like I’ve rambled on for quite abit. Next post shall be a continuation of my love affair with museums. See ya.

1 comment:

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