“I love my atypical job!”
Terry Walschaerts works in the team that manages our recent vertebrate collections. More specifically, she works with the mammals and birds (the so-called ‘dry specimens’, as opposed to the specimens conserved ‘in alcohol’ like reptiles, amphibians and fish).
She adores the atypical and diverse side of her job. Administrative tasks like coding and registering new collections (”When I see an animal, the first thing that pops into my head is its scientific name!”), welcoming visiting scientists, preparing loan vouchers for exhibitions, etc.
There are also the less ordinary tasks: helping disassembling a whale skeleton, doing make-up on the specimens in our Museum (”We make them pretty again with a hair blower!”), handling rare, unknown or extremely soft species (”Arctic hares are incredibly soft, they are my favourites”), receiving specimens from the Zoo of Antwerp (”Discovering these new collections, unpacking them, is like an early Christmas!”).
Scary specimens on Halloween
“In our collections, we have really ancient specimens. They are often posed in a very aggressive way, sometimes even frightening – that used to be in fashion. Sometimes, they are even too damaged to be exhibited or studied. But once a year, just for a few hours, they are brought out of their conservatory: they welcome children who come to spend the Halloween night at the Museum, to set the mood! For the occasion, we also emerge human models. Children love them!”