Working with colleagues, specialists and other members of our community to complete a major review of our Natural History Collections
With a quarter of a million specimens to work through, much of it behind the scenes, we felt it time to take a fresh look at our Natural History collection: what we have, how we can use it better, how we can tell people about it and, most exciting of all, whether we have any gems of historical or scientific importance hidden amongst the collection, waiting to be discovered. What stories might they hold?
To do this, we’ve taken inspiration from outdoor 'Bioblitz' events. Our project takes this idea and uses it to develop a new way of reviewing our Natural History specimens.
- Photographs from our Bioblitz project are now on display in the museum (until 2 March 2014).
- Douglas Russell visited us to look through our birds' egg specimens, one of the last subject areas to be reviewed.
- Ollie Crimmen arrived for the fifth Bioblitz, and looked over our collection of fish specimens.
- The Bioblitz Geoblitz has begun, with expert reviewer Monica Price look at the rocks and minerals in our collections and Matthew Parks visiting to review our fossils.
- Bioblitz round four was done in two parts, and saw expert reviewers Kathie May and John Ablett looking at our mollusc collections, and Roger Bamber viewing the remaining marine invertebrates.
- Our third Bioblitz, with expert reviewer Howard Mendel, examined around 100,000 specimens in our insect collections
- The second Bioblitz took place in February. We welcomed Colin McCarthy, who examined our Reptile and Amphibian specimens, and Pat Morris, who looked at our Mammals. See how we reviewed our reptile collections and mammal collections, and see lots of beautiful photographs from the project on Flickr.
- Our first Bioblitz review looked at our bird collections, led by reviewer Errol Fuller. Find out more about him here.
- Review a lot of material in a series of short, concentrated bursts
- Bring in experts to help quickly identify star specimens, allowing us to celebrate them fully
- Engage with our community by holding workshops and on-line conversations so we can develop the most appropriate use of our collections into the future
- Share our methodology, findings and ways of sharing expertise with museum colleagues and others
With new insights into the collection, we hope to deepen public involvement and foster people’s love of wildlife, develop new and interesting displays, as well as potentially uncovering exciting new research opportunities.