Extreme Makeover – RMBR style

Kate giving the 60-year-old Orang Utan specimen a much needed make-over.

As many of you already know, most of the specimens of Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research were collected many many years ago. Some of our oldest specimens are more than a hundred years old!

These older specimens need the care of a skilled conservator in the form of Ms Kate Pocklington! Kate is from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and will be here in RMBR until the end of the month to give the specimens a much needed make-over!

Now, what exactly does a conservator do? Kate maintains and conserves the specimens and makes sure they are stable enough for either storage or display. She feels that everything has a purpose and that everything is worthy of being looked after, therefore, her aim is to keep it that way for people to enjoy and learn from them.

Top left: Kate beginning work on the Orang Utan; Bottom left: Fixing a cracked arm pit; Right: Tinting the fur of the Orang Utan gives it a refreshed look!

As a child, Kate loved taking things apart and putting them back together. She was exposed and attracted to taxidermy because she grew up in a place where there were many road kills and her Aunt performed taxidermy on the carcasses. After thinking through her path in life, she was determined to create a niche in this field that is a mixture of science and art. She loves the fact that the usage of tools are a daily necessity. But what she loves the most, being an animal-lover, is that she gets to be in very close contact with the animal specimens she works on.

The leathery turtle that's over a hundred years old!

So far, Kate has worked on two approximately 60-year-old Orang Utan specimens, the malayan water monitor specimen, the rhinocerous head specimen, as well as the famous leathery turtle specimen!

Working on the glass eyes of the Orang Utan specimen to make them "pop"!

Well, besides work, we’re hoping that Kate is enjoying her first time in Singapore. The verdict is … Yes! She says its been awesome so far! She’s really happy about the warm weather (since it is -2 degrees celcius in England now) and the variety of food that she’s never tried before, including fish head curry (which she has taken a liking to) and the infamous durian which she hasn’t yet acquired a taste for.

She also feels that working here in RMBR, she feels appreciated for the work she does and everyone’s been really nice! We hope she enjoys the rest of the time she spends here with us!

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