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Colour photo of human shaped shabti figures
Our museums are open!
12th May 2021
UCL Culture is home to many incredible museums, including the Grant Museum of Zoology, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and UCL Art Msueum.  See everything from dodo bones and the world’s rarest skeleton, the quagga, to Hawara Mummy portraits and the Tarkhan dress from ancient Egypt. We've been working hard behind-the-scenes to make our museums safe to reopen, with reduced opening times, safety measures and pre-booking in place. Opening timesWe are happy to announce that the Grant Museum of Zoology and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology are open to the public every Wednesday and Thursday from 1pm-5pm and every Saturday from 11am-5pm. Tickets for these 2 museums are usually released 2 weeks in advance. However, our current bookable tickets currently are available until 19th June. This is because we are currently awaiting the government's June announcement with new guidelines. We will be releasing tickets soon. Thank you for your patience.The UCL Art Museum is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays 1pm-5pm until Thursday 11 June. It will then reopen on September 2021. Book tickets for the Grant MuseumBook tickets for the Petrie MuseumBook tickets for UCL Art MuseumMediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/IA017if0 How we’re keeping you safeCOVID-19 guidancePlease only visit the museum in groups up to 6 or two households, and avoid mixing with other visitors.In each of our museums we’ve installed sanitising stations, our staff will be wearing face coverings and we’ve temporarily removed any drawing materials and shared items. We’re keeping visitor numbers low and we’ve set-up one-way routes for you to follow.In return, you’ll need to wear a face covering inside our museums and when moving around the UCL campus (unless you are not able to for personal reasons).  As in other public spaces, you need to keep 2m away from other visitors and if you develop any symptoms of Covid-19 after your visit, please contact NHS Test & Trace. All visitors over the age of 16 will need to provide contact details on arrival, or check-in using the NHS Test & Trace app.Experience UCL Culture from homeIn the meantime, you can experience our museums from home. You can also sign-up to our monthly e-newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. [[{"fid":"14303","view_mode":"small","fields":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Good to go icon ","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Good to go icon ","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"attributes":{"height":"250","width":"250","class":"media-element file-small"}}]]
Introducing #TopTenThursdays
4th Mar 2021
[[{"fid":"15097","view_mode":"large","fields":{"height":"1404","width":"2800","class":"media-element file-medium","format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Top Ten Thursdays","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"height":"1404","width":"2800","class":"media-element file-medium","format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Top Ten Thursdays","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"attributes":{"height":"1404","width":"2800","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]This week we are launching #TopTenThursdays on Twitter and Instagram.  Over the coming months we’ll showcase some of the best, most well-loved collection items UCL Culture has to offer.Look out for our stunning Hawara Mummy portraits from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, dating from the period of Roman rule over Egypt. Or see the Grant Museum's boxes of dodo specimens up close, from southeast Mauritius.  You can also enjoy some of the stunning prints and drawings from UCL Art Museum. We’ll be challenging other museums and collections to join our #TopTenThursdays project, beginning Thursday 4 March 2021. It’s like a big, online museum ‘Top Trumps’ game.What are your top tens?Follow UCL Culture on TwitterFollow the Grant Museum on TwitterFollow the Petrie Museum on TwitterFollow UCL Art Museum on Twitter
Jeremy Bentham Auto-Icon
Jeremy Bentham’s lifelong plans for the auto-icon
4th Mar 2021
[[{"fid":"13691","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Jeremy Bentham Auto-Icon","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Jeremy Bentham Auto-Icon","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"attributes":{"height":"500","width":"800","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Born in London in 1748, Jeremy Bentham was one of the world’s great thinkers and reformers. Bentham studied law and was called to the Bar in 1769, but quickly abandoned the practice of the law in favour of a lifetime seeking to reform it. Bentham is famous for developing the doctrine of utilitarianism — that an action is right if it increases happiness — as a critical standard by which to judge laws, institutions and practices. Bentham's liberal and egalitarian ideas inspired the founders of UCL and, by chance, his preserved body ended up here too. You can still see his Auto-icon on display in the Student Centre. The Auto-Icon is the preserved skeleton of Jeremy Bentham. It was prepared according to his own instructions, wears his own clothes, sits in his own chair and carries his own stick which he nicknamed Dapple. But how did Bentham come to such a radical decision about his body?  The answer to this question lies, in part, in his many Wills which have now been transcribed by UCL Research Dr Tim Causer. It was common for people in the 1700s to make multiple Wills, particularly before travel or after changes in family status. Bentham’s Wills tell the story of how he refined his plan to leave his remains to benefit medical science over decades, and it was not the last whim of an eccentric Englishman.  From at least the age of 21, Bentham had thought about how he might benefit humankind after his death by donating his body to science for dissection. You can trace this line of thought from his first will of 1769, to his last will and testament made a few days before his death on 6 June 1832.The research highlights a range of fascinating snippets and insights into Bentham’s life:•    In his first will of 24 August 1769, made when he had come of age, Bentham first mentioned leaving his body to medical science ‘to the intent and with the desire that Mankind may reap some small benefit in and by my decease, having hitherto had small opportunities to contribute thereto while living’. He requested that his remains be delivered to the renowned Scottish physician George Fordyce - whose daughter, Mary Sophia, married Bentham’s younger brother, Samuel, in October 1796.•    Bentham’s second will of 17 August 1785 was made near Paris when he was setting out to visit his brother Samuel in Russia, presumably in case he didn’t survive the voyage.•    His third will, made on 15 July 1792 not long after his father’s death and on Bentham’s becoming head of the family, is very short and simply revokes his earlier wills, leaving all of the family property to Samuel.•    In a codicil to the will of 1792, dated 29 March 1824, Bentham restated his desire to leave his body to science, and for the first time described how his remains might be assembled—he does not use the word ‘auto-icon’—and brought to a meeting of his friends at ‘a club in commemoration of my birth and death … at one end of the table, after the manner in which, at a public meeting, a chairman is commonly seated’.•    In Bentham’s final will and testament of 30 May 1832, he revoked all of his previous wills, and in an annex described how the auto-icon was to be assembled. There are some intriguing insights into Bentham’s private life too. For instance, the will of 1785 reveals that he travelled to Russia in the company of a Scottish explorer called Logan Henderson, and Henderson’s two nieces; Bentham subsequently discovered that one of the women was in fact Henderson’s mistress, and she and Bentham hated one another. Meanwhile, his last will and testament of 1832 is revealing about the elderly Bentham’s domestic arrangements. He left money to his servants William Stockwell, Mary Watson, and Ann Lay, as well as to his long-serving gardener John Elrick. The list of individuals to whom he bequeathed twenty-six gold mourning rings—including his dentist, Thomas Cartwright, the Marquis de Lafayette, Sarah Austin, and the Guatemalan politician José del Valle—is revealing about Bentham’s friendships and international influence.Want to find out more?Ten Things you Didn’t know about Jeremy BenthamHelp transcribe more of Bentham’s writings via the Bentham Project 
Incognito Society is back
Incognito Society is back!
11th Feb 2021
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