NatSCA Digital Digest – May 2021

Compiled by Glenn Roadley, NatSCA Committee Member, Curator of Natural Science at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Welcome to the May edition of NatSCA Digital Digest.

A monthly blog series featuring the latest on where to go, what to see and do in the natural history sector including jobs, exhibitions, conferences and training opportunities. We are really keen to hear more about museum re-openings, exhibition launches, virtual conferences and webinars, and new and interesting online content. If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to

NatSCA Conference 2021: Environmental Breakdown and Natural Science Collections

The NatSCA 2021 conference and AGM will take place on 27th and 28th May, online via Zoom. 9.50am-4pm BST (UTC +1). The #NatSCA2021 conference will explore the role of natural science collections in addressing or engaging with one of the planet’s biggest issues – environmental breakdown; as well as sharing other exciting developments from the sector.

The conference will include an engaging range of keynotes, presentations, panel discussions, quick-fire ideas lightning talks and virtual tours.

Tickets are now available, and all are welcome. This event is free for NatSCA members. Of course, new members are welcome, and Personal Membership costs £20 per year (which is the same as the conference registration fee for non-members).
You can join up here:
NatSCA has also made a small number of free tickets available for unwaged non-members who might not otherwise be able to attend.

Pest Odyssey 2021

Detect, Respond, Recover – Best Practice IPM in 2021

This will be a fully virtual conference from 20th to 22nd September 2021 and will enable participants to focus on changes and new developments in IPM over the last ten years

As this will be an entirely virtual conference, “posters” will be Pecha kuccha style 5-minute presentations (5 slides in 5 minutes), rather than the traditional poster format.

Keep an eye on the Pest Odyssey website for further announcements.

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Where to Visit

As national lockdown restrictions continue to ease, many museums in England will be reopening on May 17th, following the opening of Scottish museums late last month.

The Natural History Museum (London) reopens on May 17th, as does The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent) with Leeds City Museum and The Box (Plymouth) following suit on the 18th. The Manchester Museum opens on May 19th.

The Grant Museum of Zoology, (as well at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian & Sudanese Archaeology and the UCL Art Museum) will also reopen on Wednesday 19th May. Tickets are free but must be booked at UCL CULTURE – UCL – University College London or by calling 020 3108 9000. Tickets will go live on Wednesday 12th May, and will be available two weeks in advance with a few released on the day.

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What to Read

We’ve got two great new blogs to read – Rachel Petts writes about bird specimens at The Manchester Museum and their links to the East India Company Museum in The East India Company and Natural History Collecting, while Dan Gordan also explores the history of colonialism through a collection of mounted heads at the Great North Museum: Hancock in the first part of Behind The Heads: Natural History, Empire and The Abel Chapman Collection.

Over on the Geological Curator’s Group blog, Lydia Amies has written a fascinating summary of the behind-the-scenes conservation of The Natural History Museum’s anthropology and palaeontology collections. Lu Allington Jones also gives us a look into the life of an NHM conservator with Six Questions for a Geological Conservator.

And if print media is more your thing, and you are (or are in the possession of) a small child, then ‘The Plesiosaur’s Neck’ looks like a great introduction to palaeontology. Authored by Dr Adam Smith (Curator at Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall) and Jonathan Emmett, with illustrations by Adam Larkum, the book follows Poppy the Plesiosaur to find out why she might have such a long neck.

Job Vacancies

There are several job vacancies in the sector at the moment for those with Natural History specialism, including an Associate Curator at Horsham District Council and a Collections Information Officer at Colchester and Ipswich Museums.

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Before You Go…

If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to

Similarly, if you have something to say about a current topic, or perhaps you want to tell us what you’ve been working on, we welcome new blog articles so please drop Jen an email if you have anything you would like to submit.

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