Let’s Not Forget the Old Ways

Museums Unleashed is the conference to get to in 2015. The theme, as the title suggests, is unleashing your collections: getting them out ‘there’ using social media, blogs, TV, and newspapers. With an excellent programme of speakers, the conference will discuss inspiring new ways of sharing our collections, both to familiar audiences and new ones.

The conference will be an excellent opportunity to hear case studies on what other museums are up to and how different methods are being used. This is where wonderful, new, and exciting ideas are thought up, leading to the birth of outrageously different projects (this often happens in the pub).

As Viscardi (2012) writes, advocacy is essential for survival of the sector as a whole. We all do it, and more than we think. Probably eight or nine times a week. We talk to our colleagues and friends about our collections, or a cool specimen that we are working on. We get on the radio and talk about projects. This is great advocacy. Exciting discoveries or research in our store rooms are often accompanied by media reports highlighting the awesome museum collections.

Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo)

Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo) found at Plymouth University in 2007. Specimen is the first sighting of this species since 1947, and was donated to the museum. A short article was written for the local newspaper (http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Giant-beetle-time-Plymouth-city-native/story-23139707-detail/story.html)

As museum professionals, we should embrace new communication media without forgetting the old ways. One of the most effective means of letting staff at other museums know about your work or your collections is by writing an article for the Journal of Natural Science Collections. The Journal is fully peer-reviewed, and is written by those working with natural science collections for those working with natural science collections. This is a great way of sharing your expertise, your knowledge, and your passion for your collections with your colleagues.

All of the published articles are also made freely available online. The first two Volumes of the Journal are already available, with interesting and useful articles about conservation, collections reviews, education and the history of different collections. Some articles will be useful to your everyday work as a reference, others may spark ideas for future collaborative projects. We are now seeking contributions for Volume 3. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and send in an article!

The deadline for the next Volume is 15th July 2015. Please contact the Editor, Jan Freedman, for further information (editor@natsca.org). Guidelines for authors are available here, and are currently being updated.


Jan Freedman
Curator of Natural History, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery

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