What would you ask if you could ask a curator anything? This Ask a Curator Day we brought together a panel of experts from across the museum to answer your burning questions on collections, research, preparing millions of specimens for the move to Harwell Campus and much more. In this blog we share some of the highlights.Continue reading “What would you ask if you could ask a curator anything?”
Museum palaeontologist Paul Barrett remembers his former colleague Angela Milner, who passed away earlier this month.
Dr Angela Milner (née Girven, b. 1947) was one of the most influential figures in the field of vertebrate palaeontology, with interests spanning 350 million years of Earth history. She spent most of her career at the Natural History Museum, London, joining its ranks as a curator in 1976 and rising through the organization to become Assistant Keeper of Palaeontology, a position that she held until retirement in 2009.Continue reading “Angela Milner: a life in science”
Conulariids are scyphozoans characterised by their pyramidal shapes, which have been found in more or less straight to weakly curved forms. More strongly curved periderms are more often to be found in long individuals (~15 cm +), as happens with recent scyphozoans, e.g. the polyps of Atorella, that are normally attached to the underside or the flank surfaces of a host and develop upwards as they grow longer.
Werner was the first researcher to compare conulariids to coronates and believed the first conulariids were ancestors of coronates. His theory has been echoed in numerous papers by different researchers for over 50 years.Continue reading “Bringing conulariids to life | Earth Sciences Curator”
http://static.nhm.ac.uk/wpy-globe-experiment/globe?tags= (NHM VPN required)
During lock down, I worked on a personal side project to progress my knowledge in web-based 3D interactive visualisations. I’d always been inspired by the global reach of the WPY images and the feelings they invoke when considering each image’s precious, far-flung environment and wanted to create something that helped capture that. I’d seen several impressive 3D globe and collection visualisations (e.g. https://artsexperiments.withgoogle.com/tsnemap/) and wanted to investigate how they implemented acceptable performance (load times and frame rate) as an online interactive collection viewer running on a range of devices, knowing enough about the web and 3D to understand the specialist approaches required.Continue reading “Visualising the global WPY image collection – A 3D web experiment”
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”
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”
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”
Dead oysters – not something you think will have much of an impact on your life, but in this case I must be the exception to the rule. In 1987 I found myself in Jamaica, working on an initiative at the University of the West Indies to develop low technology oyster culture. One of my tasks was to understand why oyster mortality was so high – it was also what prompted my first experience of science, and with scientists, at the Natural History Museum.Continue reading “Growing science at the Natural History Museum | Tim Littlewood, Director of Science”
2020 has been a difficult year and since March we have been working away from the collections in South Kensington. Learning new on-line communication skills has created opportunities for making our collections available to a wider audience.
Read on to find how using Microsoft Teams and a Nikon microscope we have remotely delivered access to our Micropalaeontology collections for the first time.Continue reading “Lockdown introduces a new method for engaging with our collections | Curator of Micropaleontology”
A big thank you to everyone who took part in the Plant Club BioBlitz! Over two weeks we made 725 observations of 313 species across the UK. We had observations from car parks in Portsmouth, pavements in Leeds and London, people’s gardens, and even clifftops in Cornwall and the Outer Hebrides. You can view all our observations on iNaturalist.Continue reading “Thanks for taking part in the Plant Club BioBlitz! | Citizen Science”