What do the Common swift, Cockchafer and Caddisfly all have in common? | Digital Collections Programme

A guest blog by Nicola Lowndes

Adults of these species are attracted to the light of a moth trap of course! In this instance I am not referring to the Common Swift bird (Apus apus) that is seen carrying out impressive aerial displays in summer but instead to the beautiful Common Swift moth (Korscheltellus lupulina).

Continue reading “What do the Common swift, Cockchafer and Caddisfly all have in common? | Digital Collections Programme”

Uncovering the hidden diversity of species in urban areas | Urban Nature Project

A man wearing blue gloves sits hunched over a tray of tubes as he uses a pair of tweezers to place small pieces of insects into each one

Over the past year, the Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project team have been working together on a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Thanks to money from National Lottery players, we’ve been able to develop and test cutting-edge scientific tools and methods that will help study the natural world in new ways and transform our understanding of urban wildlife across the UK.

In this blog, the Museum’s UK Biodiversity Officer Sam Thomas talks about how we have been working with partners across the UK to better understand and protect urban nature.

Continue reading “Uncovering the hidden diversity of species in urban areas | Urban Nature Project”

Working to connect families with nature | Urban Nature Project

Over the past year, the Museum’s Urban Nature Project (UNP) team have been working on a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Thanks to money from National Lottery players, we’ve been able to support members of the Museum’s local community during lockdown at the same time as learning how best to create relevant nature-based activities for families.

Lauren Hyams, Head of Urban Nature Activities, and Harriet Fink, Learning and Volunteer Programme Manager talk about how they provided new opportunities for the Museum’s  local community and the UNP to connect during an incredibly challenging time.

Continue reading “Working to connect families with nature | Urban Nature Project”

Curator of Micropalaeontology | Diary of a Principal Curator April 2021

 

This year I’m writing a diary entry each month for a typical week in the life of a Principal Curator at the Natural History Museum. In the April entry, we are offered a large microfossil collection, I review a paper about left and right coiling microfossils, help prospective visitors to apply for funds, provide some images to help university remote teaching and have a virtual meeting with our new director.

Continue reading “Curator of Micropalaeontology | Diary of a Principal Curator April 2021”

How we started our first Youth Advisory Panel | Urban Nature Project

Over the past year, the Museum’s Urban Nature Project team have been working on a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Thanks to money from National Lottery players, we’ve had the opportunity to bring 12 young people together to explore the causes and consequences of the inequality of access to quality green space and nature, which will help to shape the future of the Urban Nature Project.

Lauren Hyams Head of Urban Nature Activities, panel member Yogi Nagam and Theo Blossom, our Young People Programme Developer, talk about what they achieved.

Continue reading “How we started our first Youth Advisory Panel | Urban Nature Project”

Gone fishing – first collection move pilot study underway | Clare Atkinson, Collections Assistant

Imagine inspecting millions of specimens collected over hundreds of years to check the correct information is recorded on the database, including where they are located. If it doesn’t exist in the database, imagine having to individually enter the correct information for these millions of specimens. And if that wasn’t challenging enough, imagine being timed while you do it. This is happening right now in a pilot study at the Museum’s South London storage facility, in preparation for the biggest move of specimens since the Museum opened in 1881.

Continue reading “Gone fishing – first collection move pilot study underway | Clare Atkinson, Collections Assistant”

Recreating Wildlife Photographer of the Year online – part 3 – Headless content management

Introduction

The final part of our series of WPY microsite technical posts, this will cover the implementation of the Digital Media and TS development teams’ first use of AEM Content Services  – functionality that integrates our current traditional CMS (Adobe AEM) with decoupled front-end JavaScript applications like this WPY React/NextJS application. This is a more modern web application architecture which aims to separate web page presentation (the ‘head’) from the underlying content stored in a CMS. 

The rise of JavaScript frameworks to develop decoupled web applications (often called the ‘Jamstack’ https://jamstack.org/what-is-jamstack/) is an example of a common engineering strategy to separate increasingly complex software systems into more manageable components and services (areas of expertise).

Continue reading “Recreating Wildlife Photographer of the Year online – part 3 – Headless content management”

Preparing for the Museum’s largest ever move of natural history specimens | Sarah-Jane Newbery, Harwell Moves Project Manager

Me and Dolly the dog (not yet part of the moves team)

How do you lift a whale, pack a bear, or keep molecular samples at sub-zero temperatures as they navigate the M4? Welcome to my world, the world of the Harwell Moves Project Manager at the Natural History Museum…

Moves management is not really a job you come across on a regular basis, and when I get asked how I ended up in this career it can sometimes be a little awkward to say it was somewhat influenced by my love of Prince. Yes, that Prince, 80s visionary, Purple Rain pioneer and all-time legend. But I must admit that when I was given the option in one of my first roles at the National Archives of either going on archive management training or a PRINCE2 course (a methodology used for project management), it was obvious what I’d choose…

Last year I had the privilege of joining the museum to manage the exciting, if slightly daunting(!), move of millions of specimens to our new science and digitisation centre at Harwell Campus (you can find out more about the project here). This is a huge 6-year programme which will involve moving some of the biggest and smallest specimens on the planet, and over the past few months we’ve been starting to plan how we might go about achieving it.

Continue reading “Preparing for the Museum’s largest ever move of natural history specimens | Sarah-Jane Newbery, Harwell Moves Project Manager”

City Nature Challenge: Species to Spot | Citizen Science

There are so many ways to take part in City Nature Challenge it can be difficult to know where to start if you are new to observing nature. Observations of any living things count towards City Nature Challenge but here are six species that Museum scientists and friends are particularly interested in. If you see any of these let us know by taking a photograph and uploading to iNaturalist. Photographs and identification tips are also available as a downloadable Species to Spot guide (PDF 330KB). 

Continue reading “City Nature Challenge: Species to Spot | Citizen Science”