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Richard Quick from the Horniman to Russell-Cotes

Collections Access Officer Sarah has been renewing the Horniman's connection to Bournemouth's Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum through our Object in Focus loans scheme.

In light of a recent loan to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, I can’t help but look through our archive for pictures of our friend Richard Quick.

I work on an Arts Council England funded project called Object in Focus whereby we proactively encourage museums to borrow objects from our stores. One of these objects is a beautiful ceramic shogi (chess) set from Japan.

This object has been part of the Object in Focus project since 2012 and has so far toured to Maidstone Museum, Hastings Museum, Powell-Cotton Museum and Chiddingstone Castle, and lastly to Bournemouth at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum.

The Horniman Museum is comparable to the Russell-Cotes Museum not only due to our similar collections, but also because of Richard Quick. Quick was resident curator of the Horniman Museum and Gardens from 1891 to 1901. His move to the Horniman coincided with the museum being open to the public, and he oversaw a change in museum practice: the retention of letters and receipts relating to purchases, production of annual reports, and rearrangement and relabelling of numerous displays.

During Quick’s tenure, he also acted as an agent for John Frederick Horniman and between 1897-1899, listed his entire collection in two bound registers including a ‘Geo-Global Survey’ of the ethnographic collection that listed a total of 7,920 objects.  

After leaving the Horniman Museum he worked at Bristol Art Gallery and Museum until 1921, then moved to the Russell-Cotes where he worked until he retired in 1932. It is understood that Quick was handpicked by Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes due to his extensive Japanese knowledge.

Quick was married but his wife died not long after he started working at Russell-Cotes. His daughter, who was a nurse, also lived in the museum. When a visitor died of a heart attack in Gallery One, she tried to save him before the doctor arrived.

Quick gave many lectures both at the Horniman and Russell-Cotes Museums. He was a curator for 43 years and an original member of the Japan Society in London.  

Horniman Kakapo goes on loan

The Kakapo, a nocturnal and flightless parrot from New Zealand, has recently been voted the world’s favourite species on ARKive! This means a few people will be happy that we’ve just added one specimen to our Object in Focus loans scheme, making this species more accessible to other museums.

  • Object in Focus Kakapo, We've recently added a taxidermy specimen to our loans scheme
    We've recently added a taxidermy specimen to our loans scheme

The Kakapo is the world’s heaviest parrot, a good climber, long lived and very rare. They’re also important from an anthropological point of view, as its skins and feathers have been used by Maori to make dress-capes and cloaks.

Kakapos are very popular with us at the Horniman, and we have a number in our collections. During the current Bioblitz review, one of our Kakapo skins was identified as a star specimen, showing its importance within our collection.

  • Bioblitz reviewer Errol Fuller examines a Kakapo skin, This specimen of a now critically endangered bird is one of the 'star' specimens uncovered by the project, Photo by Russell Dornan
    This specimen of a now critically endangered bird is one of the 'star' specimens uncovered by the project, Photo by Russell Dornan

We now have a Kakapo available for loan as part of our Arts Council funded Objects in Focus project, which aims to increase access to our stored collections and strengthen partnerships with other museums.

  • Object in Focus Kakapo, We've recently added a taxidermy specimen to our loans scheme
    We've recently added a taxidermy specimen to our loans scheme

This Kakapo is currently on loan to the Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery, which is also hosting an accompanying talk about this loan on 6 June.

If you are interested in borrowing the Kakapo or any of the other objects from Objects in Focus, please contact Sarah Mahood.

The Horniman Walrus moves to Margate

The Horniman Walrus has made his way to Margate to feature in the Hayward Touring exhibition Curiosity: Art & The Pleasures of Knowing at Turner Contemporary.

While many of you have been following his progress with our liveblog and on Twitter, Acapmedia have been filming the whole event. They've produced this fantastic timelapse film documenting the Walrus leaving the Natural History Gallery for the first time since 1901. 

The Walrus will be away until September, but until then you can visit the Natural History Gallery and leave a message for him on the Walrus Wall.

Walrus move to Margate: liveblog

8:00am, 13 May 2013

Good morning everyone, and welcome to our live blog about our walrus move. We'll be updating this throughout the day to let you know how the move is going.

While the move is happening, our Natural History Gallery will be closed to visitors, so we hope that this blog will take you behind the scenes and give you a sense of what's happening.

So far, the Walrus has been cleaned in advance of his visit to Margate. Also the iceberg which surrounds the Walrus has been removed.



Moving the Walrus is giving us a chance to learn more about him, including what's inside.



The scaffolding is going up around the Natural History Gallery in preparation for the lift. It's...purple?



We've now moved on to x-raying the Walrus' head.



Currently preparing the crate in which the Walrus will be transported. Click for a picture.



Scaffolding: rising.



The gantry which will hold the walrus as he is lifted is now complete.



Walrus wheeled into position before his upward move.



He's in the air!



Being lowered on to a new platform to take his weight for the big lift.







We're very happy, relieved and glad to report that our wonderful walrus has been moved successfully. He's currently being packed up in a crate in advance of his trip to Margate. Here's a short video of him in the air - we'll have a longer video about the whole procedure later in the week.


9.15am, 14 May 2013

The Walrus has spent the night on his new platform at the front of the gallery. Today he will be carefully packed by the Conservation team and safely crated up ready for his journey to Margate.



The first task for today is for our conservation department to check the Walrus's condition, and make sure he's ship-shape for his trip to Margate.



We're packing the Walrus to make sure he will be safe when he's in transit.



Packing the Walrus is continuing, including a 'blindfold' to protect his eyes.



Having placed protective covers around the Walrus, we're now beginning to build the remainder of his crate around him.



Just putting the finishing touches to the crate packing to make sure he can't shift about while on the road.



The last job for today is to put the last pieces of the crate together, so it is ready to leave the museum tomorrow morning.



That's it for the Walrus updates today. Tomorrow, he finally leaves the Natural History Gallery and makes his way to Margate.


8.39am, 15 May 2013

This morning the Walrus in his crate was maneuvered out of the museum and into the fresh air. This is the first time he has left the Natural History Gallery for well over 100 years.



The Horniman Walrus is loaded up and on his way to Margate!



A team from the Horniman are accompanying him on his journey.



Everyone in Margate is eagerly awaiting his arrival, and everything's prepared...



He's arrived safely! And with a big audience, naturally.



The Walrus' air travel isn't quite over. He still has to make his way up onto his new plinth.


Check out our Instagram account for more pictures of the Walrus being lifted, given his new plinth, settling in and getting checked over by the Conservation team.



He's up and making himself at home. The Horniman conservators have done their final checks before leaving him in capable hands @TCMargate.



Tune into BBC South East this evening to catch an interview with @HornimanWalrus and guest curator Brian Dillon.
See a picture of the interview.

Ever wondered how to lift a one-ton Walrus?

Next week the Horniman Walrus will be making his way to Margate to feature in the Hayward Touring exhibition Curiosity: Art & The Pleasures of Knowing at Turner Contemporary.

Our famously over-stuffed walrus, weighing in at just under one ton, has been in our Natural History Gallery since 1901. Since then, he hasn’t moved more than 25 feet, so getting him out and on his way to the coast is a huge task for museum staff to organise.

Our conservation department has been working with specialist art handlers to ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible. Preparations are under way: the Walrus has already received his annual clean, and the larger pieces of his iceberg are being moved away.

  • Walrus Clean, Photo by acapmedia
    , Photo by acapmedia
  • Iceberg Removal, The Walrus' iceberg needs to be removed to allow access for the all-important lift.
    The Walrus' iceberg needs to be removed to allow access for the all-important lift.

The biggest challenge is the need to lift the Walrus out of the gallery over the other cases. The Natural History Gallery will be closed to the public next week while this is happening, but we've put together some simple sketches to help you picture what will happen.

Ever wondered how to lift a one-ton Walrus?

The Walrus will be lifted on Monday 13 and will leave the Museum on Wednesday 15 May. The Natural History Gallery will be closed throughout, so this week is your last chance to wave goodbye and wish him well on his holiday. He'll return to the Museum in September.

Be sure to follow the Walrus' journey on Twitter, and keep an eye on our blog, as we'll be live-blogging throughout. You can even catch up with the Walrus' own comments @HornimanWalrus.

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