Collections | Posted 17.03.2017

Stonyhurst Explorers

Stonyhurst Explorers

On Thursday 23rd February, in the Tolkien Library at Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall, Jan Graffius, Stonyhurst’s Curator, once more held a room of visiting guests captivated.  Under the title ‘From the Arctic Ice Floes to the Headhunters of Borneo: Images and objects collected by Stonyhurst Explorers’ Jan recounted stories of the Stonyhurst alumni who, in line with the Jesuit maxim, “live with one foot lifted” set out to be young men and women for others all around the globe.

She expertly guided our guests through the school’s long and varied history of exploration and discovery.  Examples of darts from 19th century Borneo, that still remain poisonous today; and the renowned naturalist and OS Charles Waterton’s preserved animals caught on his many expeditions were shown. The audience were told how Charles Waterton developed an innovative yet potentially hazardous method of taxidermy, soaking the specimens in what he called “sublimate of mercury” in order to create particularly life- like specimens.

Our next Curator Evening will be held in our Historic Libraries on Wednesday 17th May.  We will be looking at their renovation, and the progress that has been made since, together with the objects in our Collections that have been rehoused there.  We hope you can join us then.

If you would like to know how you can support our Collections please contact the Development Office on 01254 827 051 or email