The D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum - Open Days & Events

The Zoology Museum is open to the public on Friday afternoons during the summer vacation as well as occasional open days such as Easter and Doors Open Day. We are happy to open by appointment at other times - please contact us for details.

The museum is in the Carnelley Building, just behind the main University Tower Building on Park Place. Please enter by the front door of the building during our advertised opening hours and you will be directed to the museum. There are steps up to this door - please contact us in advance if you require stair-free access and we will be happy to arrange this.

2018 Opening DatesVisitors during Light Night 2012

Easter Weekend

30 March (Good Friday): 2 - 4.30pm
31 March (Easter Saturday): 10am - 12.30pm

Summer Openings

Every Friday afternoon between 1 June and 31 August, 2 - 4.30pm

Fresher's Week

To be confirmed (all welcome - you don't have to be a fresher!)

Doors Open Day

To be confirmed

 

and for the following special events:

Special Events

All events take place in the Zoology Museum unless otherwise stated

 

 D'Arcy Thompson celebrating the birthday of his museum Tuesday 15 May 2018, 6pm

D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Birthday Blow Out!

Join us to celebrate the 10th and 125th anniversaries of the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum! D'Arcy opened his original museum 125 years ago in 1893. It was sadly dismantled in 1956 but the current version opened in the Carnelley Building 10 years ago. Since then we have welcomed thousands of visitors and held dozens of events, as well as providing a unique learning and teaching environment for students from over 20 different undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

This special anniversary evening will feature short presentations by curator Matthew Jarron, honorary curators and volunteers Cathy Caudwell and Brian Eddy, Fine Art student Ray Byrne, Medical Art course director Caroline Erolin, Art & Design tutor Helen McCoig, Anatomy tutor Luke Reid and Creative Writing tutor Eddie Small.

Please book a place here

Poster for Jeremy Greenwood event

Tuesday 13 February 2018, 6pm

Pesticides, Peregrines and Politics: Another Triumph for Birdwatchers

A free talk by Jeremy Greenwood

Surveys of Peregrine Falcon populations since the 1950s showed up the problems of organochlorine pesticides. Armed wth scientific evidence, birdwatchers persuaded governments to regulate the use of these pesticides. As a result, the birds recovered as pesticide-usage declined. In this talk, Jeremy considers how this story relates to the use of scientific evidence in determining policy and he examines why Peregrines in parts of Scotland have not increased as much as they should have done. 

Please book a place here

 

 Genetic Moo poster

Saturday 9 December 2017, 10am-12.30pm & 2-4.30pm

Creative Coding : Animats, Animation and Artificial Life
Designing and Coding Workshops by Genetic Moo

Create your own virtual organisms in these special workshops by computer art duo Genetic Moo. The workshop will run twice – a family-friendly version in the morning (10am-12.30pm) and one for adults in the afternoon (2-4.30pm).

Please note –

Workshops will be 2.5 hours long with a short break in the middle.  All equipment will be provided.

There is a fee of £10 per person for the afternoon workshop or £10 per child for the morning workshop (accompanying adults may attend free). Please pay in cash on the day.

Places are limited so booking is required. Full details below:

 dwtbwsig

Tuesday 5 December 2017, 6pm

D’Arcy through the Letter Box - the Polymath’s wonderland as seen through his correspondence

A free talk by Meic Pierce Owen

D’Arcy Thompson’s papers at the University of St Andrews incorporate some 30,000 letters written throughout his lifetime. In this entertaining talk, archivist Meic Pierce Owen explores highlights of a vast and fascinating collection.

Free but places should be booked here.

 Shell from a photograph owned by D'Arcy Thompson

Wednesday 22 November 2017, 6pm

D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

From Natural Patterns to Self-Organisation: 100 years of Growth and Form

A public lecture by Philip Ball

Patterns, regularities and order appear spontaneously in the universe over an immense range of scales in space and time. It has become increasingly clear that there are organising processes in nature, as D’Arcy Thompson first revealed in On Growth and Form. Only recently have we had the conceptual, computational and experimental tools to do his intuitions justice. In this stimulating talk, acclaimed science writer Philip Ball will look at where our understanding of these processes has come over the century since the book’s publication.

Free but places should be booked here.

 Image by William Latham

Wednesday 8 November 2017, 6pm

Carnelley Building Lecture Theatre, University of Dundee

“A huge space of endless predetermined possibilities” - Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

A public lecture by Catherine Mason

This talk considers how the writing of code has been used to draw since digital computing technology became accessible to artists from the mid-1960s.  D’Arcy Thompson’s ideas from On Growth and Form had a formative influence on the pioneers of algorithmic art, whose work will be explored in this illustrated talk by art historian Catherine Mason. Organised with the Abertay Historical Society as part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival supported by Creative Scotland.

Free but places should be booked here.

 

 wolfram mathematica design

Friday 13 October 2017, 6.30pm

D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

Stephen Wolfram - D’Arcy Thompson and the Growth of Computational Form

As part of the On Growth and Form 100 conference, this special keynote lecture will be given by internationally renowned computer scientist Stephen Wolfram, who will discuss D'Arcy Thompson's influence on his work and the growth of computational form.

Free but please book here

 logo of On Growth and Form 100

Friday 13 - Sunday 15 October 2017

University of Dundee & University of St Andrews

On Growth and Form 100 Centenary Conference

An international celebration of the most influential book ever written in Dundee. Full programme and booking details at https://www.ongrowthandform.org/conference/

Botanica Mathematica workshop poster

Sunday 18 June 2017, 2-4.30pm

Botanica Mathematica Knitting Workshop

Botanica Mathematica is a textile taxonomy of mathematically inspired plant forms. Its creators, Julia Collins and Madeleine Shepherd, have combined ideas from D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form, computer science, fractals and hyperbolic geometry. The collection will be on show in the Zoology Museum throughout June, and in this special workshop you can make your own Binary Bonsai with Botanica Mathematica artist Madeleine Shepherd. Take it home or contribute it to the growing woolly herbarium that is currently on display in the museum. 

Yarn and some tools will be provided by Dundee’s own independent yarn store, Fluph. Please bring your own set of double-pointed needles so if you don't finish your Binary Bonsai at the workshop you'll be able to take it home.

Attendance is free but places must be booked in advance on Eventbrite

Poster for Notes from the Museum 2017

Thursday 8 June 2017, 6pm

Notes from the Museum

One of the highlights of the museum’s events programme, this annual event (now in its ninth year) features poetry and prose inspired by D’Arcy and his collections, written and performed by students on the Creative Writing MLitt course at the University of Dundee. The event will be chaired by tutor Eddie Small.

Attendance is free but places must be booked in advance on Eventbrite

poster for moth talk

Tuesday 16 May 2017, 6pm

Garden Tigers, Gold Spangles and Burnished Brass: Digitising the Kenneth Tod Moth Collection

A free talk by Georgia Carr & David Lampard, Angus Moth Project

Did you know there are over 2500 species of moths in the UK compared to 59 species of butterfly? Or that not all moths fly at night? Some moths have ears, some don’t have mouths! Little is known about moths in Angus and Dundee yet there is a wealth of information hiding in our museum stores. The Kenneth Tod Collection at the University of Dundee holds rare, localised Alpine species which are of particular concern in times of changing climate. Learn how digitising museum collections across the county gives the global scientific community access to historical, geographic and taxonomic specimen data that can help answer our greatest ecological and conservation questions. Find out how Tod discovered new and unusual locations for the Small Dark Yellow Underwing and the Northern Dart, and how Tod’s fear of other collectors means these locations are a secret to this day.

The talk is free but places should be booked via Eventbrite

Poster for Jim Cook talk

Tuesday 25 April 2017, 6pm

Conservation in the Quarry – Care and maintenance of a small nature refuge

A free talk by Jim Cook, Dundee Naturalists' Society

Well over 150 members and friends of the Dundee Nats have been working at Carsegowniemuir Quarry over recent years carrying out a wide variety of conservation tasks, including planting some 1,400 trees of 23 native species. The site has developed and improved, with the full support of the owners, and is now starting to attract an increasing number of different species. Jim will tell us what’s involved in organising a small nature refuge such as this - what kind of tasks are needed?  How can you find out what's there to begin with and what can you do to encourage more wildlife in? 

The talk is free but places should be booked via Eventbrite 

 poster for Matt Ylitalo talk

Wednesday 8 March 2017, 6.30pm

 

Women and Whaling in Nineteenth-Century Dundee

A free talk by Matt Ylitalo organised by the Abertay Historical Society for International Women's Day

Victorian Dundee has often been described as a ‘woman’s town’.  While Dundonians readily associate women with jute mills political activism, few would associate them with Dundee’s leading role in the whaling industry. However records indicate that this was very much the case.  Like men, women from every social class supported the business of Arctic whaling.  They worked as seasonal labourers in the local yards, carried out independent business transactions with whaling companies, and materially supported male family members and acquaintances who voyaged north into the ice.  Yet women’s most documented relationships to the whaling trade were as shareholders, investors and creditors.  Until now virtually no consideration has been given to women’s involvement in the financial underpinnings of the whaling trade. This fascinating talk aims to uncover another hidden but vibrant aspect of women’s history in Dundee!

Matt Ylitalo is a doctoral student in modern history at the University of St Andrews working in collaboration with the University of Dundee and Dundee Heritage Trust.  He is researching the local and global social history of Dundee’s whaling trade, hoping to uncover new aspects of Dundee’s rich heritage.

The talk is free but places should be booked via Eventbrite 

 Carol Littlewood poster

Tuesday 7 March 2017, 6pm

Biodiversity Projects in Tayside

A free talk by Carol Littlewood (Littlewood Land Care)

For the past 17 years, Carol Littlewood has been involved with helping landowners and managers improve their land for wildlife. One of the most rewarding aspects of her job has been delivering biodiversity projects. In this fascinating talk, Carol will discuss some of the recent and on-going projects she has been involved in around Tayside, including Barn Owl and Tree Sparrow conservation as well as Linnets and treelines. 

These projects all deliver direct habitat enhancement, as well as giving the opportunity to benefit many more species in the same area. Highlighting and enthusing landowners about the wildlife on their farms helps them to realise how vital just small changes to how they manage their land can be to help declining farmland species.

The talk is free but places should be booked via Eventbrite

Poster for Kimberley Bennett talk

Tues 13 December 2016, 6pm

Fitness and Fatness in Seals and Humans

A free talk by Dr Kimberley Bennett (Abertay University)

Fitness in humans rarely goes hand in hand with fatness. But for seals, to be fit they have to be fat. This talk by Kimberley Bennett (a Lecturer in Biomedical Science at Abertay University) will explore why being fat is so important to seals, what we know about how they regulate fatness compared with humans, how pollutants can influence body fat control in both seals and humans and the potential consequences for human and animal health.

The talk is free but places should be booked via Eventbrite

 

 ‌Poster for Sarah Easterby-Smith talk

Tuesday 29 November, 6pm

Boxes of Delights: Botanical Collecting in the Age of Sail 

A free talk by Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith

It is not an understatement to state that botany was the 'big science' of the eighteenth century. Obtaining knowledge about the natural world could serve European domestic and colonial agendas, furthering the improvement of agriculture, medicine and industry. Obtaining and identifying new, exotic specimens for study was thus a matter of pressing importance. This talk will discuss eighteenth-century botanical collecting, looking in particular at the challenges confronted by European plant hunters who collected and transported plant specimens across the world.

 

 

 

 Protecting Paradise poster

Thursday 3 November 2016, 6pm

Protecting Paradise: Wildlife Conservation

As part of Dundee Science Festival, join us to explore some of the projects that University of Dundee staff and students are doing to help marine conservation and the survival of threatened species and environments around the world.

Prof Terry Dawson - Large-Scale marine protect areas: what can they achieve for biodiversity, and do they work?

Rachael Hall - The environmental importance of mangroves

Dr Steve Hubbard - Students in the mist: vulnerability in tropical forest bird communities

Free admission but please book via Eventbrite.

Blue Skies 2016



Saturday 13 August 2016, 10am-12pm

Take Flight

Create your own wings and take flight! For this fun, drop-in family workshop as part of the Blue Skies Festival, we have all the materials you need to make wings, feathered headbands and other accessories. Ever fancied winged shoes like Hermes? Look no further! You can bring your own accessories, toys or clothes, too! Discover wings of all shapes, sizes and colours on display for your inspiration – just make sure you don’t fly too close to the sun!

No need to book - just come along!

 poster image for Ioan Fazey's talk

Tues 7 June 2016 at 6pm

Living with Change in the Solomon Islands.

A free talk by Professor Ioan Fazey

Change is all around us but seems to be increasing in complexity and speed as we enter a new era dominated by significant global forces and challenges. This is certainly the case for remote communities in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, who are facing rapid changes in economic, social and environmental conditions. In this presentation, Professor Fazey will discuss his research, working in participatory ways with local communities to understand the diverse and interacting ways in which local and global change is mediated by external processes and how people have adapted and responded to that change. This not only includes stories about rising sea levels and declining resources, but also about incredible feats of innovation and resourcefulness. More widely, the presentation raises important questions about human ingenuity and innovation, and whether working faster to keep things the same is a sustainable model for the future of the planet. 

poster for Fern & Fossil Craft Workshops

Sunday 15 May 2016, various times

Festival of Museums: Getting Crafty with Fossils and Ferns

Get your creative juices flowing with the University Museum Collections’ rarely seen fossils and ferns on show in the Zoology Museum! Be inspired by everything on display to design your very own jute bag to take away using a variety of colours and materials. We have paints, badges, stencils and stamps - fun for the whole family!

Saturday 14 May 2016, 2-4.30pm

Festival of Museums: Fossils and Ferns: The Hunt is On!

Get your magnifying glasses at the ready and dust off those detective hats because some sneaky fossils and ferns have found their way into our displays in the Zoology Museum and we need your help to find them all! So round up your friends and family and head on over to the museum to take part in our quiz and fossil hunt festivities. Whilst exploring the museum you’ll also learn some amazing things about dinosaurs and the environment they lived in. It’ll be a roaring good time so come and join us!

poster for Just a Minute event

Tuesday 3 May 2016, 6pm

Just a Minute Mammal

 

Join us in the museum for a special animal-themed version of the popular quiz Just a Minute. Kim Dale, Liz Lakin, Barry Caudwell and Mike Sedakat will be the panellists trying to speak on zoological topics without hesitation, repetition or deviation, with Matthew "Nicholas Parsons" Jarron as your genial host!

 Chocolate poster

Tues 8 December 2015, 5.30pm

What Makes a Good Chocolate?

In this special evening event we will be exploring what chocolate is and how it is made, courtesy of Sophie Latinis, director of the Pittenweem Chocolate Company. During the presentation you will get to taste each part of the process, from bean to bar, and enjoy a cup of the very best hot chocolate!

Admission £6 – includes chocolate! Please reserve a place via museum@dundee.ac.uk or 01382 384310

Poster for Matt Barnes talk

Tuesday 17 November 2015, 6pm

Plastics and poo – Threats to Scottish marine life

A free talk by Matt Barnes

An introduction to the work of the Marine Conservation Society in Scotland, including its biodiversity, pollution and fisheries work and how the public can get involved in volunteering programs to address the threats to the marine environment and seashore locally.

 

Poster for Mark Field talk

Tuesday 10 November 2015, 6pm

The Future of Evolution: Superheroes or Couch Potatoes?

A free talk by Mark Field

Join biologist Professor Mark Field in the inspiring setting of the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum for an evening of super-human evolution! In a fascinating free talk, Mark will be delving into the possible futures of the human race – will we become superheroes or couch potatoes?

poster for Terry Dawson's talk 

Tuesday 20 October 2015, 6pm

Protecting the Real Treasure of the Pitcairn Islands - Challenges to creating the world’s largest marine reserve

A free talk by Professor Terry Dawson

The Pitcairn Islands, located in the South Central Pacific Ocean, are the last remaining Overseas Territory of the UK in the Pacific. They face significant challenges and and have limited means and capacity to implement effective sustainable development goals. However, current plans are underway to revitalise the Pitcairn Island with plans to create a Marine Protected Area, the largest in the world!

 

 

poster for the Notes from the Museum VII event

Tuesday 13 October 2015, 6pm

Notes from the Museum VII

One of the highlights of the museum’s events programme, this annual event (now in its seventh year) features poetry and prose inspired by D’Arcy and his collections, written and performed by students on the Creative Writing MLitt course at the University of Dundee. The event will be chaired by tutor Edward Small.

 

 

FoM 2015

Sunday 17 May 2015, 2-5pm

Crafternoon in the Zoology Museum

Join us at the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum for a FREE fun-filled needle felting crafternoon! We have all the materials you need to create some fantastic zoology-themed felted brooches.

Muybridge event poster

Tuesday 24 March 2015, 6pm

Muybridge and Animal Locomotion

An evening of short talks by David Booth, Keith Williams and Matthew Jarron exploring the pioneer photographer, his visit to Dundee in 1890 and his influence on the study of animal motion.

Women in Science Festival Poster

Sunday 22 March 2015, 11am

Sparking Ideas from Science

Come and explore creative ways of expressing science in this special writing workshop in the museum with author, screenwriter and science communicator Emily Dodd. Part of the Women in Science Festival programme -  to attend please book on 01382 386660 or revealingresearch@dundee.ac.uk

 Poster for Pauline Schapp talk

Tuesday 16 December 2014, 6pm

The Road to Multicellularity: lifting the veil on the emergence of multicellular life forms.

A free talk by Professor Pauline Schapp

The appearance of multicellular organisms was a defining moment in evolution that gave rise to all the life forms that we see around us today. Multicellularity allows division of labour between cells and the construction of tissues and organs. However, multicellularity also requires novel mechanisms for communication between cells that allows them to function in a manner the benefits the whole organism. In this free public talk, Professor Schapp (College of Life Sciences) will discuss how the transition from uni- to multicellularity is likely to have occurred and give an example of how the mechanisms that single-celled organisms use to respond to environmental signals became adapted to control cell-type specialisation in their multicellular descendants. She will also show how research into fundamental questions in biology opens up new avenues to address problems related to human health.   

 

 ‌poster for talk by Jon Hoad

Tuesday 18 November 2014, 6pm

Art of Ancient Life

A talk by palaeo-artist Jon Hoad

Commencing his career as an Archaeological Illustrator, Jon's artistic journey has always been concerned with faithfully representing the past and for 20 years he has worked exclusively in the field of paleontological reconstruction, producing scientifically accurate representations of prehistoric animals, plants and environments. He will talk about the purpose and validity of reconstructing images of prehistoric life, animals, plants and environments and discuss the research and skills required as well as the background to his career.

 Poster design for It Is Rocket Science

Wednesday 13 August 2014, 6pm

Helen Keen - It Is Rocket Science!

Award-wnning comedian Helen Keen returns to the museum with a version of her popular BBC Radio 4 series. Join her for a low budget, highly original look at the history and future of cosmic travel, featuring all the enormity of the universe without any of the boring bits! Including a whistle-stop tour around the Great Brains who put monkeys, ladies, dogs and gentlemen into orbit...

 

 

Poster for Ellen K Levy talk

Monday 9 June 2014, 5.30pm

D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

Artist's Talk - Ellen K Levy: Interactions

Ellen K Levy is an American visual artist whose work explores biological science through mixed-media installations, forums, curatorial projects and writing. In June 2014 she will be undertaking a residency in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, and in this free public talk she will reflect on the profound influence of D’Arcy Thompson’s work on her and other artists.

 

Dave Parish image

Tuesday 3 June 2014, 6pm

Improving the British countryside for wildlife: Farmland birds, Farmers and Politicians

A talk by Dr Dave Parish, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Farming practices in the UK have evolved dramatically in recent years and have changed the British countryside enormously, not least as a habitat for wildlife where the impacts have mostly been negative. The bird life associated with farmland demonstrates this with very large population declines recorded over the same time span. Much of the research of The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has been targeted at this area and has produced measures that can help bird numbers recover. However, these are usually made available to farmers via Government schemes, which to date have been largely unsuccessful. Why is this and how can the schemes be improved? Come along to hear more from Dave Parish who runs the Trust’s lowland research in Scotland, working alongside farmers to develop practical measures to aid their conservation without making their lives a misery!

 

Andy Lomas talk poster

Friday 30 May 2014, 5.30pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

Artist's Talk - Andy Lomas: Morphogenetic Creations

Andy Lomas is a digital artist and Emmy Award-winning computer-generated effects supervisor. His production credits include Walking with Dinosaurs, The Matrix: Reloaded, The Matrix: Revolutions and Avatar. Inspired by D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form, he has been exploring how intricate complex organic forms can arise from the digital simulation of morphogenesis. This work is influenced by nature, but with the aim of investigating archetypal forms that can arise emergently from iterative growth-like processes rather than top-down externally engineered design. To launch the exhibition A Glimpse of a Great Vision Andy will give a talk about his work and the influence D’Arcy Thompson has had on him and other digital artists.

 publicity image for A Walk on the Wild Side

Saturday 17 May 2014, 7.30-9pm

A Walk on the Wild Side

Come along to the museum to make animal masks and hats and jazz up your own clothes with animal designs. Kick-start your Saturday night with this special evening event, which will also feature face-painting and will culminate in a glamorous zoology catwalk so you can show off your creations!

This event is part of Festival of Museums and the Ignite Festival

 

 ‌

Monday 12 May 2014, 5.30pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

Artist's Talk - Peter Randall-Page

"Geometry is the theme on which nature plays her infinite variations, fundamental mathematical principles become a kind of pattern book from which nature constructs the most complex and sophisticated structures"

As a prelude to the exhibition A Glimpse of a Great Vision, internationally renowned sculptor Peter Randall-Page will give a free lecture about his practice, followed by the official unveiling of his sculpture In the Beginning  - only the second large-scale sculpture by the artist to be permanently sited in Scotland.

Steve Hubbard talk poster

 Tuesday 10 December 2013, 6pm

 Steve Hubbard: Survival and structure in rainforest bird

 The University of Dundee is now close to having the longest running
 dataset in the world on the survival of rainforest birds, thanks to the
 annual Trinidad expeditions for students led by Steve Hubbard. In this
 free talk, Steve will describe how this data will allow fundamental
 ecological hypotheses about the evolution of life history characteristics
 to be tested, as well as providing a critical insight into the effects of
 forest disturbance and climate change. 

 
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