By: Anna Namuren, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 31 Oct 2013
Which Museum scientists pack pistols, killing bottles and ear plugs for their expeditions?
Archivist Patricia Egan, volunteer Prue Walker, and I were wondering what essential items scientists packed in their bags for expeditions over the decades.
Patricia highlighted the list of possessions found with William Holmes, zoologist and the Museum’s first custodian in 1829, when he accidentally shot himself while on a collecting trip. The manifest was subsequently left to his widow.
Prue came across the notebooks of Gilbert Percy Whitley, ichthyologist, including a list with the heading ‘Paraphernalia, desiderata, impedimenta etc.'
I asked amphibian biologist Dr Jodi Rowley, to reveal what she usually packs for an expedition. You can see excerpts from their lists below.
William Holmes, 1831
Zoologist and Museum custodian
Gilbert Whitley, 1923
Curator of fishes
Dr Jodi Rowley, 2013
Amphibian biologist and Acting Co-ordinator, Australian Museum Research Institute
Macquarie Dictionary definition
Paraphernalia: personal belongings; apparatus; equipment.
Desiderata: plural of desideratum; something wanted or needed.
Impedimenta: baggage, etc., which impedes progress, as supplies carried with an army.