In the time-honoured tradition of school-trips to strange places, the Dracula Society Whitby Weekend Educational Committee has decided to provide you with this useful handout. It is designed to focus your attention, via a series of questions, on items of particular interest. Imagine what fun you'll have looking for them! If there is anything mentioned here that you cannot locate, please feel free to imagine it instead.
Students should note that all questions are to be considered entirely rhetorical. Both this visit and this handout may be regarded as exercises in creative speculation, the encouragement of which should surely be the prime aim of all museums, galleries and cabinets of curiosities. Enjoy!
Try to think of a dozen practical household uses for a Hand of Glory.
How would you go about making a Hand of Glory, and whose hand would you most like to use?
Do you remember seeing a similar item in the film The Wicker Man, beside Edward Woodward's bed? What other items would you consider suitable to be placed in Mr. Woodward's bedroom? (Be imaginative here.)
In which television celebrity chef's cookery book would you be most likely to find a recipe for making your own Hand of Glory? How many of the ingredients would come from Sainsbury's?
All the period-dressed dolls look exactly the same. Do you think this demonstrates:
Imagine you are a museum director given the task of displaying the incredibly fine and amazingly complete skeleton of a large prehistoric sea-creature. You decide to set it permanently into the plaster of the museum wall. What effect do you think this will have on your future career?
Which stuffed bird looks most miserable and why?
The Museum boasts a fine collection of flint arrowheads. By a simple process of counting and dividing, you should be able to calculate the average number of facets per flint. (You may have to leave a little time for this project.)
When does a small, pointy piece of flint cease to be an arrowhead and become definable instead as a small, pointy piece of flint?
What is the difference between a chip and a flake, and do you care?
Now which stuffed bird looks most miserable, and why?
Can you find the small glass jar containing a viscous amber liquid? Now:
Whitby jet is a suitable material for intricate carving on a small scale, and its lightness in weight means that it can be fashioned into large and elaborate pieces of jewellery. How much jet do you think could be worn by:
Imagine a favourite Dracula Society event miniaturised into a tiny tableau and squeezed by some fabulous sleight of hand (or possibly the application of pixie dust) into a light fitting. Do you think we would be better suited to a standard light bulb or a fluorescent tube? Baton or screw fitting? And what would the most appropriate wattage be?
Dr. Merryweather's Tempest Prognosticator would obviously make the ideal wedding present for the modern household. Sadly, it is no longer possible to buy leeches by the pound (or kilo) at your local family grocer's. Suggest a suitable substitute, perhaps along the lines of:
What do you consider the ideal size for an ammonite?
Could small ones be utilised in the Tempest Prognosticator?
Why is Captain Cook extinct, and what are the arguments for cloning him?
Text and photographs © Gail-Nina Anderson 2005