Digitising British Bumblebees |Digital Collections Programme

Bombus hortorum also known as the garden bumblebee displays a wide range of colour forms.

A bumblebee is any one of over 250 species in the Bombus genus, whose name derives from the Latin for a buzzing or humming sound. We have been digitising the Museum’s collection of British Bumblebees in order to release a new resource to those researching and working with Bees globally.  Continue reading “Digitising British Bumblebees |Digital Collections Programme”

A boy with a museum under his bed | Curator of Micropaleontology

Geode

When I was at school I had my own geological museum under my bed. Aged 6 I took some of the first specimens in my collection to school for show and tell. This summer term I found myself doing the same at my 7 year old son Pelham’s school (thank you Natasha for volunteering me). I took some specimens on loan from the Museum’s handling collection and some of my favourite specimens from my original collection.

Read on to find out about the specimen that’s been on TV, the rock that is much lighter than it looks and where in Hintze Hall you can come do your own Key Stage 2 revision on Geology.

Continue reading “A boy with a museum under his bed | Curator of Micropaleontology”

Digitisation of unlikely pioneer’s collection answers key questions in evolution and helps train future scientists | Digital Collections Programme

Henry Buckley (1939-2002) is a relatively unknown pioneer in the world of Foraminifera. Buckley was discouraged from publicising his collection, up until recently this collection wasn’t well known in the micropalaeontological community but all that is changing.

The Buckley collection has been digitised and today is helping Museum PhD students to answer questions on evolution. Yale University also plan to use this collection to train new generations of scientists to identify modern planktonic foraminifera and to help develop automatic recognition software in the future.

Continue reading “Digitisation of unlikely pioneer’s collection answers key questions in evolution and helps train future scientists | Digital Collections Programme”

17 Who’s afraid of the dark? | #NHM_Live

We step into the darkness with leading scientists from the Museum to explore some of nature’s most extreme sensory adaptations and have a close-up look at some sensational specimens.

Join David Urry and Museum ecologist Steph West, Senior Mammal Curator Louise Tomsett and Dr Robyn Grant, a physiology and behaviour expert from Manchester Metropolitan University. They will be talking about creatures that thrive at night.

We also meet Ken Greenway, Tower Hamlets’ resident ecologist, for a night-time walk in the cemetery on the lookout for some of the borough’s bats.

Want to get up close to some of the curious creatures featured? Find them in our Life in the Dark exhibition.

This recording was broadcast on 11 July 2018. If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, rate and review in iTunes. We will be live every month. Join us on 15 August and find out about modern day explorers and the depths to which they go to discover new frontiers.

16 What lies beneath? | #NHM_Live

Come with us to the depths of the Museum basement this month for an exclusive peek at the Tank Room and meet some of the 22 million specimens stored in alcohol (or spirit), including a Greenland shark and Stanley the sturgeon.

Join Museum curators Oliver Crimmen, James Maclaine and Jeff Streicher to discover why we preserve some collections in spirit and how scientists are using them to study life on Earth.

 

Find out more about the oceans at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/oceans

This recording of #NHM_Live was broadcast on 13 June 2018. If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, rate and review in iTunes. We will be live every month. Join us on 11 July and find out about the animals that thrive in darkness.

A swarm of Madagascan moths to join our online collection| Digital Collections Programme

The Madagascan digitisation team, alongside the 5,700+ specimens digitised during this project.
The Madagascan digitisation team, From left to right: Phaedra Kokkini, David Lees, Alessandro Giusti, Alberto Zilli Geoff Martin, Peter Wing and Louise Allan.

We have finished imaging more than 5,700 Madagascan butterfly and moth (Lepidoptera) type specimens in the Museum’s collection. Continue reading “A swarm of Madagascan moths to join our online collection| Digital Collections Programme”

15 What’s the coolest dinosaur? | #NHM_Live

Join four Museum dinosaur experts as they each try to convince you that their favourite dinosaur is the best there ever was. It’s the ultimate dino face-off! What’s your pick for coolest dinosaur: the biggest, the quickest, the smartest, the fiercest? Or do you think a lesser-known species deserves a shot? Our scientists for this show were Susie Maidment, David Button, Paul Barrett and Tom Raven, and our host was Alastair Hendry.

Find out more about dinosaurs at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dinosaurs.html

This recording of #NHM_Live was broadcast on 16 May 2018. If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, rate and review in iTunes. We will be live every month. Join us on 13 June and learn about the creatures who live in the dark of the deep oceans.

4 million digital specimens and counting | Digital Collections Programme

This image of Carl Linnaeus has been created from Museum specimens rather than pixels.

The Museum’s Data Portal has passed 4 million specimens, representing around 5% of the Museum’s entire collection.

The Data Portal was launched in December 2014. In addition to Museum specimens, the Data Portal also hosts 5.3 million other research records and over 100 datasets from internal and external authors.  The Portal is a platform for researchers to make their research and collections datasets available online for anyone to explore, download and re-use.

Continue reading “4 million digital specimens and counting | Digital Collections Programme”

The hunchbacked, small-headed, spider-killers | Curator of Diptera

For the past two days I have started, and finished recurating the British Acroceridae Collection. Wow, you must be thinking, that young Erica is fast! Recurating an entire family in two days; updating the nomenclature, bar coding and databasing the specimens, and then rehousing into modern museum standard unit trays. Well, a slight confession is that there are only three species found in the UK.

Continue reading “The hunchbacked, small-headed, spider-killers | Curator of Diptera”

Contemporary art at the Natural History Museum

There is a long tradition of art bringing dead things in museums to life.  The Natural History Museum is full of specimens that give us windows into life in all its glory.  But many artists give our collections and our ways of working new and unexpected lives.  The Museum’s Art-Science Interest Group (ASIG) brings together the museum staff and artists (and in some cases these inhabit the same bodies) to explore the collections, and life, the universe and everything, through an artistic lens.

Continue reading “Contemporary art at the Natural History Museum”