Although estimates of extinction rates vary significantly , anywhere from losing hundreds to hundreds of thousands of species each year, it is widely acknowledged that we are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. Ensuring we deliver a wide range of conservation measures to protect species is key to halting this decline across all taxonomic groups. A growing area of research is focussing on biobanking as an effective way to deliver this. But what does this mean in practice, how does it work and why is it important?
What are microfossils and why should we care? Sometimes it can be difficult to make the case for a group of fossils which at their largest usually reach just 1mm (although some are actually much larger than this), but microfossils have and continue to play an incredibly important role in many areas of natural science research.Continue reading “5 things you never knew microfossils were important for”
As International Women’s Day drew closer, and with preparations for the move of millions of collections well underway, it got me thinking about the role women played in the original 1881 move of collections from the British Museum in Bloomsbury to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, as well as their contributions to the early development of the collections and research.Continue reading “Legacies from letters | International Women’s Day 2022”
In 2021 the Museum revealed plans to relocate 28 million specimens (approximately a third of the collection) from our stores to a new, purpose-built science and digitisation centre, to ensure their safety and accessibility for future generations. This mammoth undertaking has been enabled through a £182m investment from the Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. So, with funding secured, how do you set about planning not only our largest ever collections’ move, but arguably one of the largest collections’ moves ever carried out worldwide?
Many of us associate the Natural History Museum at South Kensington with Hope the Whale, Dippy the Diplodocus and other inspiring exhibitions and stories about the natural world – but did you know that behind the scenes of this iconic building there are 300 scientists and 200 postgraduate students publishing over 500 scientific papers annually? That there are leading laboratories with technical experts imaging, analysing and preserving life on earth? Or that we are working towards digitising all 80 million specimens housed in the museum’s invaluable collection stores (less than 1% of collections are on display) to further open them up for research?Continue reading “Specimens to Solutions: A Glimpse into Collections and Research | Kathryn Gibbons, Scientific Partnerships Manager”
Sustainability. Makes. Sense.
To me, environmental management and sustainability has always made sense for organisations – if we work more efficiently and waste less of everything, we can reduce the negative impacts on our environment as well as save both time and money. No brainer, right?Continue reading “Sustainability Makes Sense – New Year, New Targets | Kimberley Lewis, Interim Head of Sustainability”
One of the key aims of creating the Natural History Museum at Harwell is to expand and accelerate the science we do and enable. Whether this is by digitising our collections to make them easier to discover, opening them up to more researchers and wider audiences than ever before, developing new technologies and facilities to uncover new information about the natural world, or delivering innovative research that revolutionises our understanding of biodiversity, nature, and the future of life on Earth. Our ambitions are big. As such, I thought a great way to round out the year would be to look back at some of the huge achievements of scientists and their collaborators across the Museum in 2021.
From ancient humans to tools for biodiversity monitoring and with pit stops via genome sequencing, this is only a snapshot of the hundreds of papers, new species descriptions, policy contributions and funding awards that have been achieved this year. Enjoy!Continue reading “Looking back on the year of science | Tim Littlewood, Executive Director of Science”
Sustainability and climate change are very much at the forefront of all our minds at the moment, and especially when planning for the largest specimen move ever undertaken by the Museum.Continue reading “A sustainable move | Sarah-Jane Newbery, Moves Project Manager”
To celebrate World Space Week 2021, Head of Earth Sciences Collections and Principal Curator of Meteorites, Caroline Smith, takes a look at just some of the incredible collaborations between the Natural History Museum and some of our future neighbours at Harwell Campus, the hub of space research in the UK.Continue reading “World Space Week: Exploring the meteorite collection”
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?”