NatSCA Digital Digest – March 2022

Compiled by Olivia Beavers, Assistant Curator of Natural Science at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Welcome to the March 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 what you are getting up to, exhibition launches, virtual conferences, training, webinars, and new and interesting online content. If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to

Sector News

SPNHC / BHL / NatSCA Conference 2022

This summer will see the return of the physical NatSCA Conference – a partnership with the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Early Rate registration is now open until April 8th (after which the Late Rate fee will apply), with NatSCA members eligible for the Standard Member rate.

The programme of events is now available to view.

NatSCA Lunchtime Chats

The new lunchtime chats are for members only and run on the last Thursday of every month. Paolo Viscardi’s talk: Decanting the Dead Zoo, gave us an amazing and informative insight into how the team at the National Museum of Ireland Natural History moved thousands of specimens (from whales and Giant Deer to fragile Blaschka models) to enable work for the conservation of their roof to begin. The next talk: ‘Investigation of a Sperm Whale that washed up in Trinidad’, will be hosted by Mike Rutherford, Curator of Zoology and Anatomy at The Hunterian in Glasgow on Thursday March 31st 2022, 12:30-13:30.

This series is supposed to be informal, no fancy equipment is needed, it will be put out over the NatSCA Zoom platform and there is no fixed format. There will be shaky walks through stores by mobile, demos, plain pieces to camera or traditional PowerPoints if that’s the best way to share images and info. For those who want to take part please email to put forward your idea; if a stable internet connection for what you want to achieve is tricky we can put up a pre-recorded video and then speakers can jump in at the end for the discussion.

Bring your sandwiches and a cuppa and we hope to see you on the day! All members will have received a link to join via Zoom (the same link works for all sessions) – if you haven’t, get in touch with

Upcoming NFBR conference

The National Forum for Biological Recording has an upcoming conference for members to attend: ‘Curating the Past, Creating the Future: Legacies in Biological Recording’. It will take place Thursday 5th May – Saturday 7th May 2022 at Oxford University Museum of Natural History as well as online via Zoom. The conference costs £20 in person or £10 online. You can book your space here.

The theme this year is the legacies created by biological recording. From safeguarding historic specimen collections to dealing with personal photographs, they aim to cover various aspects of usefully preserving biological recording outputs for present and future generations. On Saturday 7th May there is a field trip to Wytham Woods, a species rich site which has been maintained and researched by Oxford University for 80 years. Find out more about the conference here, including the event programme.

Where to Visit

The Museum in the Park currently has some special events running alongside their Ice Age exhibition which runs until March 27th 2022. The next two talks are ‘The Beasts of the Ice Age’ by Jan Freedman (in-person, Saturday 12th March 2pm) and ‘Environments and Climates of Ice Age Britain’ by David Anderson (in-person, Thursday 17th March 2pm). Both are available to book onto through the link.

James Cresswell and The London Open University Geological Society are hosting a talk entitled: ‘Antarctica‘ March 24th 2022.

The Natural History Museum has restarted their ‘Lates’ – with the first, in-person session since 2020 taking place March 25th from 17:50 – 21:30. Explore nature through video games and board games while chatting with game developers and scientists. Free tickets are required and will be available soon!

What To Read

Mike Howe, Head of the National Geological Repository at the British Geological Survey and Collections Officer for the Geological Curators Group, has written the article ‘On the Trail of Errant Specimens’. It encourages curators to submit entries for the GCG’s ‘Lost, Stolen and Strayed’ section. Click here to read more about the project and share your stories of searching for missing specimens.

We have a great new NatSCA blog about the process of documenting natural history collections for you to read, written by Eimear Ashe, Documentation Officer, National Museum of Ireland – Natural History. ‘A Sunfish, a Sheriff and a Register‘ is available to read now.

We also have an exciting blog about the conservation of ‘Thomas Bateman’s Ichthyosaurs’ by Alistair McLean, Curator of Natural Science, Sheffield Museums Trust. Click to find out more about the ichthyosaurs and the collections of Thomas Bateman and his father.

Where to Work

National Museums Liverpool is looking for an Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Zoology (full time, permanent, £24,896). Closing date is Friday 25th March at 12pm.

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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