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Monday, 9 March 2015

#miniobjects and the First World War

If there's one thing we love at the Ministry, it's hearing from 'behind the scenes' staff of museums. Conservators are particularly fascinating as they get to work hands-on with all the best stuff in the stores. We asked Louise Stewart Beck from the Science Museum to give us an insight into her favourite #miniobject...

Mini things are universally appealing. Proof: when I brought this object out of the stores, every one of the conservators in the lab crowded around to have a look. “It’s so tiny!” (About 8 inches long) “That’s not for babies, is it?” (It’s not.) “Then what’s it for?” Well, miniature versions of objects had a lot of purposes besides being entertaining. Small-scale objects are used to demonstrate proof-of-concept for new products and buildings, to gain an understanding of materials, or to carry around as sales models, since they’re more portable than the actual object. This model prosthetic was made by Alex Munro Armstrong of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, who lost his own leg in 1918 and probably based this model on his own leg. For the Science Museum, this model serves as an important research tool, demonstrating a type of prosthetic made at a certain point in time.

Louise Stewart Beck is currently a conservation intern at the Science Museum working on the First World War medical collections. She completed her master’s degree in Conservation at UCL last year. Follow her on twitter @LouiseSBeck

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