Meet a Museum Blogger

Meet a Museum Blogger: Jake McGowan-Lowe

Jake McGowan-Lowe is a bone collector, explorer, and author. He is eleven years old and lives in a beautiful part of Scotland with his mum, his dad, his baby brothers (Sam and Harry), and his two pussy cats.

Jake loves walking, exploring, watching wildlife, and collecting bones. He’s been collecting bones since he was six and started blogging in July 2009 when he was seven. (You can read more about why he began blogging here, and his advice to other kids wanting to blog here.)

Every week he writes something new. Mostly it’s about bones that he’s found, but sometimes it’s about animals and birds that he sees on his walks. So far, Jake has written 277 blog posts and there have been 1357 comments!

In 2012 Jake signed a book deal with Octopus Publishing in London to write a children’s educational book based on his blog. The book is to be called “Jake’s Bones” as well, it will be available worldwide, and it comes out in February 2014 in the UK (March 2014 in the US).

Jake McGowan-LoweDo you work in a museum? If not, where do you work? Tell us about your job.

I’m too young to work.  I’m almost 12, in my first year of senior school in Scotland.

What’s your educational background?

I don’t really have one yet.

What was your ‘sticky’ moment?

When I was 8, a local museum arranged a tour for me to go behind the scenes at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. I saw there was a lot of great stuff (and great people) hidden away and that there is tons of stuff that people don’t see normally.

What is the name of your blog? How long have you been blogging?

It’s called Jake’s Bones. I began blogging in July 2009, when I was 7, so that’s over four years now.

What do you blog about? Why?

I blog mainly about bones that I find and discover near my village. But I also blog about wildlife, nature and museums.

What’s the nicest/meanest/craziest comment you’ve ever received?

The craziest one wasn’t a comment but it was an email. I get loads of emails because of my blog from people wanting help with bones; I should get about 800 this year in total. I try to reply to every one. Last year a lady emailed me to ask if I could help with a muntjac (a type of small deer from England) skeleton which she had been given. After a couple of confusing emails she sent me pictures. I emailed her back saying it wasn’t a muntjac, and looked canid to me, probably a juvenile fox. She emailed back saying that my views were “interesting” but that she was sure it was a muntjac. I emailed back showing how it couldn’t be a muntjac, for example, because hers had fibulas (which deer don’t have) and teeth all along the bottom jaw (with no gap between the incisorforms and premolars, like deer have. Then she sent me a picture of what she said was her muntjac, her fox skull, and her badger skulls all side-by side. They were actually all foxes!

Anyway, she stopped emailing me after a while, and I thought that was the end of it even though she never believed it was actually a fox skeleton. Then about a month later I heard from Ben Garrod who is a bone expert and TV presenter. She had emailed him about the skeleton, and he told her the same as me. She didn’t believe him either. She probably still thinks it’s a muntjac.

The nicest one wasn’t a comment but an email as well, and that one was the one where a London publisher wanted to turn my blog into a book for children. It comes out on February 3rd 2014 in the UK and March 4th everywhere else.

What’s your most read blog post? Tell us about it.

The most popular one this year has been “21 ways how I would create an amazing museum”.  That seemed to be really popular with museum people and I got comments and tweets from all over the world. It’s had about 10,000 people read it already, and I only published it last month.

The most popular one overall is a guide to various methods of cleaning up animal bones.

What’s your “go-to” blog/online museum resource?

Paolo Viscardi’s blog helped me become more interested in bones. I’ve read that like forever.

Skullsite.co.uk (for mammals) and skullsite.com (for birds) are very good as well.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

At university, hopefully, studying something I enjoy.

Do you tweet? Why or why not?

I do. It’s really useful for talking to scientists or specialists. Yesterday I was up on the hills and I found a well-rotted body of a red fox, but the fur was grey. I used dad’s phone and asked on Twitter whether fur can change colour after death. Within half an hour I had six responses, while I was still in that part of the wood.

Night at the Museum: love it or hate it?

I hate it. I used to really love it, but my two younger brothers watch it ALL THE TIME, and now I’m sick of it. The bit at the start, where Ben Stiller goes to the employment agency, that’s actually his mum who interviews him. Not many people know that.

Thanks for participating in Meet a Museum Blogger, Jake!

In case you missed it, Jake blogs at Jake’s Bones.

Do you have additional questions for Jake regarding his profile above? Feel free to start a conversation in the comments below or reach out to him directly on Twitter at @jakesbonesPlease use the #MuseumBlogger hashtag. TY!

Are you interested in being profiled or know someone who would be? Send an email to MuseumMinute@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “Meet a Museum Blogger: Jake McGowan-Lowe

  1. Pingback: What is a curator? | Zygoma

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