Last Wednesday Sarah Pitt of the BBC Natural History Unit came down from Bristol with a sound-recordist colleague to make a recording about the Museum’s mandrake collection. They are working on a series of programmes for Radio 4 that will explore the culture and history surrounding the relationship between humans and the natural world. The series will use objects in the Natural History Museum as a jumping-off point, and will include a wide range of subjects from butterflies to meteorites. Our mandrakes will be featured in a programme about the plants in the nightshade family.
Sarah, a naturalist, was clearly revelling in the chance to find out about the folklore, magic and other quirky and unexpected beliefs associated with the natural world, and was very interested in the Museum’s collection. The series, which will be about twenty half-hour programmes, and has the working title A History of Natural History, is scheduled to begin in June, and promises to be fascinating.
Sarah spent some time with Joyce looking at the mandrakes. Many thanks to Joyce for this.