Meet the Staff Q&A. No.4 – Fiona

We haven’t posted one of these in a while. Inside the cocoon there are many people busy with various aspects of the Museum’s redevelopment and day-to-day activity. We’d like to introduce you to some of them. Here we meet Zoology Archive Volunteer, Fiona Horner.

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Fiona Horner, Zoology Archive Volunteer.

What is your role at the Museum?
To assist with cataloging, photographing and sorting through various archives. My current work is sorting through The Hugh Bamford Cott archives.

What is your favourite animal?
A difficult one to answer as I love all creatures great and small. Penguins have always fascinated me after seeing them at the zoo as a child. My favourites are the Macaroni and Rockhopper.

What’s your favourite specimen here at the Museum?
I love all the stuffed birds and was able to get a closer look at them when asked to photograph each one before being packed up.

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A drawer of colourful Coraciidae. ©Photography & Graphics, Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge University.

What is the most enjoyable part of my working day?
Every moment! Each week brings new surprises.  It is exciting unravelling history of the past.

What is the most exciting thing I have done?
There are many but I shall never forget watching the sunrise at Gore Bay, New Zealand. The colour on the horizon was changing every minute, wonderful pink/ coral/ orange colours. It was very windy and the sea was whipping up great waves and spray.

If you could work at any other museum in the world, which would it be?
The Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum and Art Gallery, on the waterfront in Wellington, New Zealand. There are six floors of bold, innovative and  interactive displays. The Museum takes you through a journey of New Zealand’s history, art and culture.

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Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand.

What do you like doing in your free time?
Being outside and exploring the countryside and changing seasons. Walking, gardening, reading and anything that is creative. When I get the chance, I also love travelling to new places and countries.

If you could bring any creature back from extinction, which would it be?
The Great Auk. It inhabited the coasts and islands of the North Atlantic from Virginia and Ireland to Greenland and Iceland. The Auk was a flightless bird and pairs mated for life. It was hunted for food and its down was in high demand. They were an important part of native American culture as a food source and symbolic item. They became extinct by the mid 19th century.

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The Great Auk ©Photography & Graphics, Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge University

Do you have a role model?
Charles Darwin and Gregory Mendel are two people I greatly admire. Also, the lady who looked after me throughout my childhood ’til I left home was such an amazing Mum, friend and mentor.

Describe what it is like working at the museum in three words?
Fascinating, fun and challenging.

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