Glass Delusions: Report for partners Exhibition overview Glass Delusions October to 19


Glass Delusions: Report for partners

Glass Delusions

ran from 1 st

October to 19 th

December 2015 at the Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL.

(c) Eleanor Morgan

Exhibition overview

How do minerals become living things? In this exhibition of prints, drawings, videos and objects, Artist in Residence

Eleanor Morgan explored the slippery boundary between living and non-living materials. Her work was inspired by the Grant Museum's collection of intricate glass sponges – animals that naturally build themselves out of glass – they are formed of 90% silica.

Eleanor Morgan was the Leverhulme Trust funded Artist in Residence at the Grant Museum of Zoology for the year leading up to the exhibition. Investigating the collection of glass sponges, Eleanor explored glass as a material, its cultural significance and how living and inorganic glass interact.

Glass Delusions

was an exhibition of new work inspired by the Museum’s collection, the conversations she had with biologists, chemists, geologists and engineers along the way, and the challenge of re-animating a museum of dead creatures.

Key Performance Indicators

Compared to 4948 for same period in 2014/15 (up 52%)

“Normal” visitors during standard opening hours




Total educational visitors to

Museum during exhibition


Of which 2071 took part in events directly related to Glass



(c) Eleanor Morgan


The Museum already has a reputation for a high quality, innovative public engagement programme, and is one of the primary providers of informal adult life science events in London. The programme of events around Glass Delusions was arguably our most ambitious. It gave us the chance to experiment with new formats, to explore artistic and making events more thoroughly, and to run events outside of the Museum, outside of UCL, and – indeed – outside.

The full programme of events can be found on the exhibition website:

Strategic collaborations with other parts of UCL, creative partners, and other museums and HEIs allowed us to diversify audiences, content areas and formats. The programme included a glass research day, glass lamp-working

(with the Royal College of Art) and fish printing with the UCL Institute of Making; mud-larking with the Thames

Estuary Programme; glass model making with Imperial College and the Natural History Museum; hands-on workshops at Sluice_ Festival with the Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery; talks from experts from UCL

Archaeology, UCL Chemistry, UCL Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL Science and Technology Studies, and the

University of Bristol. We also ran a wide range of making events for families.

A Storify of the exhibition and event programme’s life on Twitter can be found here:

Loaned objects

A number of glass sponges from the Grant Museum’s collection were featured in the exhibition. These were augmented by three significant specimens loaned courtesy of the Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

The UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology loaned a number of glass rods and nuggets – some of the world’s earliest man-made glass.


Glass Delusions


The artwork and exhibition were the work of Eleanor Morgan. Jack Ashby (Grant Museum) managed the overall project and the events programme was overseen by Dean Veall (Grant Museum).


The Grant Museum would very much like to thank all those involved – Eleanor Morgan, the lenders and the contributors to the events programme. We are grateful to Susie Chan (UCL Museums) and Dave Bellamy for their help installing the exhibition. Many thanks to the Leverhulme Trust for their support of the exhibition and of

Eleanor’s residency at the Museum.

Jack Ashby, Grant Museum Manager, UCL Public and Cultural Engagement, December 2015