I have blogged many times about the occasions when we receive visits from scientists interested in various aspects of our collections, ranging from Gorillas to fossil fish. But as anyone who is familiar with the Booth Museum will know that there are as many if not more visitors to the museum and our collections who do not have science in their minds but the arts. Locally we see many students from Brighton University and rarely does a University degree show go by without some reference to the Booth. Practising photographers, painters, sculptors, regularly visit the collections and sometimes borrow from us. But last week we were able to help a very special guest, who, it turns out, has been a fan of the Booth for many years.
Early on Friday morning I opened the doors to the many people who make up a film crew – camera man, sound man, director, producer and assistants, and once they had set up, we welcomed the star of the day Kate Mosse, novelist, non-fiction and short story writer and broadcaster. She is best known for her 2005 novel Labyrinth, which has been translated into more than 37 languages. Not only do her literary credentials sparkle, she was awarded the OBE last year. In 2000 she was named European Woman of Achievement for her contribution to the arts, and she holds an Honorary MA from the University of Chichester. She was also the 2012 winner of ‘The Spirit of Everywoman Award’, awarded by NatWest. In 2013, she was named as one of publishing Top 100 most influential people by the Bookseller and one of London’s 1000 most influential people in the arts by The Evening Standard.
So what was she doing at the Booth Museum? Well, it is now an open secret that the title of her next novel is The Taxidermist’s Daughter, described as an enthralling and haunting Gothic novel and due out in the autumn. There are few clues yet to its storyline, but Kate did say that it is built around four birds in particular: jackdaws, magpies, rooks and crows – all of which are well represented in the Booth’s collections. Filming within our Victorian ‘parlour’ was perfect to produce pre-publicity interviews and movies for the upcoming press launch in London, And of course the theme of taxidermy was all around!
Kate was a perfect guest and her crew very professional. More about the day plus many images can be found on Kate’s own website.
John Cooper, Keeper of Natural Science