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PALMER, Jacqueline (1918-1961)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0060 DF 5006
Held at: Natural History Museum
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Full title: PALMER, Jacqueline (1918-1961)
Date(s): 1948-1960
Level of description: Sub fonds
Extent: 97 series
Name of creator(s): Palmer | Jacqueline | 1918-1961 | museum staff
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Miss Jacqueline Palmer was born in London in 1918. Having trained at the Froebel Educational Institute, Roehampton, she gained her diploma in 1939 and taught throughout the war. Later she went up to Cambridge University to read geography at Newnham College, graduating with honours in 1948.

Having joined the Museum on a part-time basis in the Autumn of 1948, Miss Palmer proposed the development of a Children's Centre as an attempt to encourage and direct the interest of children in the natural world and the Museum. Inaugurated on an experimental basis during the school holidays, the Centre was located on the west side of Central Hall, near to the main entrance. It was an area where children could draw, make models and receive instruction. Miss Palmer was seconded to the Museum by the London County Council who paid her salary.

In 1948 she inaugurated the Junior Naturalists' Club for children aged 10 to 15 who were regular visitors to the Centre and who proved their commitment by producing a piece of fieldwork. The Club had its own committee and met once a week with occasional extra activities. The Club had a small library and programmes of activities were devised by the Committee, under Miss Palmer's guidance. In 1950 a Country Club was started at the suggestion of Sir Norman Kinnear for children aged 13 to 16 living outside London who wanted help with their studies of the natural world.

This generated considerable correspondence and subsequently the work of the Country Club was incorporated within that of the Field Observer's Club. This was formed in 1953 as a senior group for young people over the age of 15 so that more appropriate work could be provided for older Centre members. It too had its own committee, programme and selection procedure. An Argus Club for scientific illustration, intended for children aged between 13 and 17, was also formed but was later incorporated into the Field Observer's Club. Close ties were always maintained between these two clubs and both continued their work after Miss Palmer left the Museum in 1956. The Junior Naturalists' Club was linked to the Chelsea Physic Garden while the Field Observer's Club became independent of any other organization. The latter was affiliated to the International Youth Federation for the Study and Protection of Nature and the former to the Council for Nature, an alliance resulting in productive exchanges. Miss Palmer left the Museum in 1956 and died from cancer on 3 January 1961.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Jacqueline Grizel Georgiana Palmer relating to her work in the Children's Centre of the Natural History Museum, including papers relating to the Argus Club; Children's Centre papers; Junior Naturalists' Club papers; Field Observer's Club papers; correspondence; worksheets; pressed plants and photographs.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Correspondence is concentrated in DF5006/65-85, and photographs in DF5006/86-96.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry copied from the Natural History Museum online catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Sep 2008

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