The main focus of my placement was the curation of Hymenoptera (mostly parasitoid wasps, but also other wasps, ants and bees) specimens stored in ethanol. Previously the specimens had been haphazardly stored, many samples had been collected in the 1990s but not been properly incorporated into the collection (oldest specimen from 1963).
I organised the specimens taxonomically and geographically, rehoused the specimens in suitable containers (many were in broken, plastic tubes which are unsuitable for storing ethanol) as well as relabelling. All specimens were databased meaning that the specimen records will be publicly available, enabling the specimens to be used in future studies.
In addition to the work on the spirit collection I also assisted with re-housing pinned ant specimens, this is vital for the conservation of pinned specimens as well as photographing some ant specimens, which will also be publicly available on the NHM database.
Overall, I gained knowledge of how museums are managed, specifically how specimens are stored and conserved. Additionally, I had the great privilege of getting to know and learning from many expert entomologists.