NatSCA Digital Digest – December

Compiled by Jennifer Gallichan, NatSCA Blog Editor; Curator at Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd – National Museum Cardiff.

Welcome to the December edition of NatSCA Digital Digest.

This month’s Digest dispenses with the usual format and focuses on all things Christmas. Apologies to all those Scrooges out there, but all things considered, this year needs as much sparkle and fairy lights as we can throw at it people!

There are some super virtual advent calendars going on. I am off course recommending my very own institutions @CardiffCurator account. This year our annual #MuseumAdvent calendar meets #NatureOnYourDoorstep. We launched our nature #WinterBingo challenge on the 1st December. Find all 24 things before Christmas, tag them in and they’ll retweet your finds.

Then there is the wonderful Leeds Discovery Centre Video Advent Calendar. Every day, open a door to see what object their curators and staff have found in the Store. Also an excellent opportunity for a virtual nose around their stores.

And this year, Manchester Museum are bringing you a #Caring Christmas advent calendar. Each day their gift to you is a little story of wonder, celebrating how we care for our world and each other.

You might also like to check out our own Glenn Roadley’s wonderful blog A Partridge in a Pear Tree (stokemuseums.org.uk)


Despite restrictions, some museums have been able to re-open and remain open, which is excellent news. World Museum Liverpool are thrilled to be welcoming back visitors.

Grant Museum are opening again for a few limited dates before Christmas so be sure to book tickets if you fancy a visit. Whilst there, you might consider picking up some micrarium wrapping paper as recommended by the wonderful Erica McAlister aka @flygirlNHM.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History have reopened and as an extra treat are hosting an online lecture about spider webs and silks with expert Fritz Vollrath on 16th December at 7pm.

I know many of us are concerned about the toll Covid has taken on museum budgets, so the #ShopMuseums campaign launched to promote online museum shops is very welcome. 15 museums launched the campaign to inspire shoppers to support their favourite cultural attractions in the run-up to Christmas. Participating institutions include the Natural History Museum, British Museum, Science Museum, the Wallace Collection, British Library and Norfolk Museums Service.

You can support other museum shops by checking out your local or favourite places online. Birmingham Museums, despite being closed, has teamed up with nearby independent businesses and makers to hold The Virtual Birmingham Christmas Gifts Market. This virtual market will run until Sunday 13th December and is accessible via a closed Facebook group that anyone can request to join.

Also (unless you are boycotting Amazon), you can always try using the AmazonSmile platform which enables shoppers to donate 0.5% of an item’s purchase price to any charitable cause registered on the site. It’s free for museums to join the site and hundreds from all over the world already have.

Finally, a reminder that on the 16th – 18th December The Palaeontological Association is holding their annual meeting online.  “This year’s virtual Annual Meeting offers the opportunity for attendees from around the world to watch presentations live, and interact, discuss, and debate palaeontology in real-time. As well as three exciting styles of presentations, the meeting will also feature a Symposium, Annual Address, the Annual General Meeting and a number of interactive and engaging social events”. See their website for more details.

Thanks to all who have contributed to the Digest over 2020, with particular thanks to Lily Nadine Wilks, Glenn Roadley and Jan Freedman, without whom, there would be no newsletter.

Best Wishes, Seasons Greetings and much love to all our readers. We wish you all a happy, healthy and safe Christmas.

We are really keen to hear more about museum re-openings, exhibition launches, virtual conferences, webinars and new and interesting online content in 2021. If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to blog@natsca.org.

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