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vert bar IN THE NEWS 17th February 2007

Mystery object - Item 71 in the Museum collections

Item 71 in the Museum collections is a mystery to us. It is 61 cm in overall length, and 27 cm wide, with a handle ca. 14 cm long. The longer plate (upper in left hand photograph) is 5 mm thick, while the broader (lower) half is 3.5 mm in thickness. The edges are bevelled and do not show signs of wear, suggesting the item was never used, or is purely symbolic. The handle provides a comfortable fit to the hand and has a patina suggesting much handling, but this may have occured in the museum alone. Microscopically, all pieces appear to be made from Beech wood, but the gross features suggest otherwise, implying it may be of an exotic timber.

On one face there is the ghostly image of a former label - a tantalising copperplate description of what the item is. . .but what does it say? (bottom right)

If you can identify this object, maybe you recall seeing it in the National Museum gallery prior to 1970?, you could win a copy of PLANT The ultimate visual reference to plants & flowers of the world published by Dorling Kindersley, as well as a tour of the National Herbarium. See competition details below.

RTE Radio 1, 8:45 p.m. Wednesdays - Washed, Dried and Pressed

The museum collections of the National Botanic Gardens are currently featured in Mary Mulvihill's Wednesday evening series on Radio 1. If you miss a programme, the series is repeated on Saturday afternoons on medium wave, and you can also listen again on the Internet [link to the programme website].
As part of the series we hope to enlist the help of the public in identifying item 71 from our collections. If you think you recognise it, or know what it was used for, then send your suggestion on a postcard to:
Washed, Dried and Pressed competition, Radio Centre, RTE, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

OR by e-mail to (mark your e-mail: Competition).

Include your name and contact details, and make sure your entries reach RTE by Friday, March 23rd. See the RTE website for audiolinks to the programmes here..