NatSCA2023 Conference

The Annual Conference & AGM of the Natural Sciences Collections Association was held on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th April 2023. Stoke-on-Trent Museums hosted the conference at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. The conference included gallery and collection tours, presentations, poster sessions and the annual AGM.

So how do we actually do all this?
Hopeful futures and turning theory into practice for big issues in natural history collections

This is the “How To…” conference for people working with natural history collections. The last few years have seen unprecedented changes in the expectations for what the museum sector can deliver. Global and local social and environmental issues have coincided to reinforce the needs of museums to consider their reinvention and relevance.

These have brought many opportunities for exciting developments, but as we work to take positive action for and with our audiences – often centered on wellbeing – the people working and volunteering in the sector have been placed under pressures that impact their own wellness, making clear we need to support each other and look after ourselves too.

View Programme
View Abstracts

Papers and recordings from the conference can be found below.

Day One
Session 1: Lightning Talks

How to use object biographies to tell new and more diverse stories
Lisa Winters, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden

Who uses our collection and what for? Part 1
Diana Arzuza Buelvas, Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester

How do you get the measure of a wet collection quickly?
Amy Geraghty, National Museum of Ireland

How to reimagine a 117-year-old diorama of seabirds which has been kept in open storage for c. 40 years for a 2021 gallery
Patricia Francis, Gallery Oldham

Down To Earth Exhibition: Problems and Solutions [YouTube]
Patrick Roycroft, National Museum of Ireland

How to say a good “last goodbye"
Mathew Lowe, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

How to diversify collections usage using a biobanking programme on a shoestring budget
Louise Gibson & Alex Thomas, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London

Sowing Seeds of Hope; Establishing the National Seed Bank at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland
Darren Reidy, Christina Campbell, Wuu Kuang Soh, Matthew Jebb & Colin Kelleher, National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

How to find ectoparasites on study skins and explore the ecological heritage shared between colonial and provincial museums
John-James Wilson and Jing Jing Khoo, World Museum, National Museums Liverpool

Session 2: Decolonisation

How to Find Female Contributors in the Postcolonial Herbarium
Kimberly Glassman, QMUL School of English and Drama and Kew Gardens

Devolving restitution and natural science at Birmingham Museums
Lukas Large, Birmingham Museums Trust

Telling honest stories about natural history collections
Jack Ashby, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Reimagining the museum of the Great White Hunter
Rachel Jennings, Powell-Cotton Museum

Session 4: Collections and Ethics

The DP Method: A Novel Semi-Quantitative Method for Surveying Heritage Collections [YouTube]
Kathryn Royce, University of Oxford

From the field to the collections: Developing protocols for the collecting and conservation of natural history collections [YouTube]
Jan Freedman, Mohammed Darwish and Chris Collins, Royal Commission for AlUla, Alula, Saudi Arabia

Bringing geoethics into the museum: considerations for best practices in curation [YouTube]
Erika Anderson, The Hunterian

Session 5: Keynote
Observations from a full career in the Natural Sciences [YouTube]
Oliver Crimmen, The Natural History Museum, London,
Nigel Monaghan, The National Museum of Ireland - Natural History
Maggie Reilly, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow

Day Two
Education, Outreach and Conservation

How to work with local communities to decolonise botanical collections; experiences of the Rights and Rites project at Amgueddfa Cymru [YouTube]
Heather Pardoe and Nathan Kitto, Amgueddfa Cymru

How to change vergency by urging divergency to inspire urgency in a climate emergency [YouTube]
Wednesday Batchelor, Tullie House

Co-creation between young emerging artists and museums: Inclusive Partnership, Courage to Disrupt, and Storytelling Beyond 'Neutrality’ [YouTube]
Isla Gladstone, Ella Trudgeon, and Euella Jackson, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Rising Arts Agency

Three Ways to engage visitors in the climate crisis [YouTube]
Ellie King, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Taxidermy. Inspiring a new generation of STEM creatives [YouTube]
Jazmine Miles Long, Independent Taxidermist

Climate notes of hope: how to share positive stories of climate action through natural history collections [YouTube]
Sarah Marden, The Box, Plymouth

How to co-design a creative and equitable engagement programme for wildlife conservation with refugees and asylum seekers [YouTube]
Lucy Brown, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London

How to inspire and teach the naturalists of the future in a post-pandemic world [YouTube]
Stephanie Holt, Natural History Museum, London

How to get your stakeholders to love bugs – the contribution of museum natural history to local conservation initiatives [YouTube]
Ian Beavis, The Amelia, Tunbridge Wells

So how do we actually get a whale through a window? [YouTube]
Paolo Viscardi, National Museum of Ireland