If you’ve ever wanted a cabinet with secret compartments — and we’re talking about a lot of secret compartments here — then you’re going to like videos from the Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens exhibit that was at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).
One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important product from Abraham (1711—1793) and David Roentgen’s (1743—1807) workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. Owned by King Frederick William II, the Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size.
In addition to the Secretary Cabinet above, there’s also a writing desk, a rolltop desk, and an automated Marie Antoinette music player.
In a first from March 2011, Bill Gudenrath of the Corning Museum of Glass attempts to make a copy of one of the fish-shaped glass pieces displayed in The British Museum’s 2011 Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World.
During the exhibition of over 200 objects that were on loan from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul — some from between the 3rd century BC and 1st century AD — the museum showcased “nineteen of the roughly 180 glass vessels found in the ancient Kushan storerooms at Begram,” including three of these fish:
Stuart Hind, Identification and Advisory Service Manager at the Natural History Museum in London, spends his days identifying the bugs that people bring in to the museum. Jars, match boxes, shoe boxes, and even jewelry boxes have transported creatures to his desk. Often Stuart doesn’t know what kind of insect or arachnid to expect until he peeks inside.
In this video, he introduces a Stag Beetle, a Long-horned Beetle and a Tube Web Spider. You can read more about all three of them at the Natural History Museum’s site.
From Untamed Science, a tour with Dr. Lindsay Zanno, Director of the Paleontology & Geology Research Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
The key things she emphasized were that a) it’s a lot of work b) it’s not glamorous c) rarely to they find complete skeletons d) they don’t excavate it with little brushes out in the field and e) they spend close to 50 times the effort on a skeleton, in the lab, once it’s been pulled out of the earth.
There’s also a field trip to Crystal Geyser Quarry, “the largest feathered dinosaur graveyard” in the world… so far, at least! From the team’s site:
We are living through the most exciting period in the history of dinosaur paleontology. More than half of all known dinosaur species were discovered within the past 25 years, including nearly all of the remarkable feathered dinosaur specimens. One of the hottest areas for dinosaur discovery in North America is the Cedar Mountain Formation of eastern Utah, where new dinosaurs are being discovered and described at a phenomenal rate. These fossil beds span the last 25-30 million years of the Early Cretaceous, a time when North America was undergoing a period of climate change that resulted in localized extinction events and invasive dinosaur species.
Our team returns to Utah every year to hunt for new dinosaurs. This year we began excavations at an unprecedented dinosaur burial ground in the Cedar Mountain Formation known as the Crystal Geyser Quarry (CGQ). The CGQ is a mass mortality site entombing a rare and remarkable dinosaur dubbed Falcarius utahensis. One hundred and twenty-five million years ago an estimated 300 Falcarius individuals ranging in age from hatchlings to 4-meter long adults died and were buried here under mysterious conditions.