Top NatSCA Blogs of 2022

Compiled by Jen Gallichan, NatSCA Blog Editor.

A very Happy New Year to all of our readers and contributors! Being the blog editor is a great job as I get to read all of your fantastic posts first and hear about all of the great work going on out there with natural history collections. To reflect on this, here is a round up of the most read blogs that came out in 2022 in case you missed any of them. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed an article, the blog continues to go from strength to strength and this is purely as a result of your work and writing. The 2023 calendar is half full already – so if you are considering submitting something for later in the year, do drop me a line and get it scheduled in.

10. A Foot In The Door – Finding Collections Work As A Trailing Spouse In A Foreign Country. Written by Caroline Grounds, Freelance Zoological Collections Assistant, Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Luxembourg. A lovely blog about finding your niche in a new country, and showing that collections work has no borders.

My happy place: sorting bees from by-catch from pan traps which we set up throughout the country. © Dylan Thissen

9. Thomas Bateman’s Ichthyosaurs. Written by Alistair McLean, Curator of Natural Science, Sheffield Museums Trust. Documenting the conservation work (part funded by the Bill Pettit award) that helped restore two beautiful Ichthyosaur specimens.

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NatSCA Digital Digest – January 2023

Compiled by Claire Dean, Project Curator, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery.

Welcome to the January 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 keen to hear from you if you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest, please drop an email to blog@natsca.org.

Sector News

The NatSCA annual conference and AGM will be held at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th April 2023. The focus this year is So how do we actually do all this? Hopeful futures and turning theory into practice for big issues in natural history collections.

We are looking for 20-minute presentations, 5-minute lightning talks, and posters. Work can be presented in-person or digitally. All the details you need are here. The deadline for submission is 5pm GMT Monday 30th January.

Abstract submissions are also now open for SPNHC 2023. The 38th Annual Meeting of The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections is being held in San Francisco, California 28 May – 2 June 2023. Full details here.

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Listening and learning: Reflections on the Second Workshop of the People and Plants Project

Written by Fiona Roberts. Collaborative ESRC PhD student, Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales Decolonising biocultural curation of South Asian medicinal plants.

Monday 7th November, National Museums Collections Centre

In early November, a group of academics, researchers, curators, artists and knowledge holders gathered at Edinburgh’s National Museums Collections Centre. The second workshop of the year-long AHRC-funded ‘People and Plants’ project focused on ‘reactivating ethnobotanical collections as material archives of Indigenous ecological knowledge.’

During the object handling session (Photo by Dr Ali Clark, National Museums Scotland)

The People and Plants Project

Led by National Museums Scotland, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Powell-Cotton Museum, the project investigates current debates on decolonising museum practices, including the interplay between natural history and ethnography collections, creating a conversation about these among varied experts.

The project’s previous workshop, held at the Powell-Cotton Museum in March 2022, brought together Somali knowledge holders from UK diasporic communities and was run in partnership with the University of Kent’s School of Anthropology and Conservation and the NOMAD project, which engages Somali communities in heritage projects. To read more, see this previous blogpost, and view workshop talks on YouTube [People and Plants – YouTube].

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NatSCA Digital Digest – December 2022

Compiled by Milo Phillips, Assistant Curator of Entomology for National Museums Scotland.

Welcome to the December 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 keen to hear from you if you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest, please drop an email to blog@natsca.org.

Sector News

Catch up: Museum Action for Climate Empowerment Webinars

The most recent webinar from the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) is now available to watch online if you were unable to make it to the live webinar in November. Henry McGhie or Curating Tomorrow, and NEMO Policy Officer Elizabeth Wilde dig into sustainability insights for the sector, key ways that museums can meaningfully contribute to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and explores a new guide for how museums can measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. All previous webinars can also be found over on the NEMO YouTube channel.

Link to latest webinar: https://www.ne-mo.org/training/nemo-webinars.html

Link to NEMO YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@nemo-networkofeuropeanmuse7452

Registration Open for Field Studied Council January Courses

You can now register for upcoming natural history courses hosted by the Field Studies Council. January workshops include: an introduction to bee conservation, an exploration of botanical folklore, and courses on marine mammal and marine invertebrate biology and ecology. Many are hosted online with FSC Virtual, and costs vary.

Link to upcoming courses: https://www.field-studies-council.org/courses-and-experiences/natural-history-courses/

NatSCA Lunchtime Chats

The new lunchtime chats are for members only and run on the last Thursday of every month.

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 training@natsca.org 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 membership@natsca.org

Where to Visit

Deck the Dinos

The Natural History Museum is getting festive! Drop by before January 3rd 2023 to see their T-Rex dressed up for the holidays in probably one of the largest Christmas jumpers we’ve ever seen.

Link to T-Rex article: https://blooloop.com/museum/news/natural-history-museum-t-rex-christmas-jumper/

Register for Alfred Russel Wallace’s Birthday Symposium

Oxford University Museum of Natural History will be celebrating the 200th birthday of Alfred Russel Wallace with a symposium exploring his contributions to science. The event is on January 9th and will be held both online and in person. Registration is now open, with details of timings and locations on their website.

Link to OUMNH event page: https://talks.ox.ac.uk/talks/id/0cd00bc2-2a47-49d3-a297-da1e96bff7be/

What to Read

A new species of extinct lizard has been described from the collection at the Natural History Museum. Read about how a 200-million-year-old fossil is changing our understanding of how modern lizards and other reptiles evolved.

Link: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/news/2022/december/gloucestershire-fossil-suggests-modern-lizards-could-have-triassic-origins.html

A new book from Samuel Alberti, director of collections at National Museums Scotland explores how science museums can use their power to foster a greater sense of collaboration and community through sparking curiosity and boosting scientific literacy.

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-03795-1

Forest & Bird announced their Bird of the Year winner for 2022. Bird of the Year is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness for endangered birds throughout Aotearoa, with spirited and often hilarious efforts by all to promote various birds as the favourite. The Pīwauwau Rock Wren, New Zealand’s only true alpine bird, is this year’s champion! Read more about the Pīwauwau and 2022’s so-called ‘underbirds’ on their website.

Link: https://www.birdoftheyear.org.nz/

Before You Go…

If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to blog@natsca.org. 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.

NatSCA Digital Digest – November 2022

Compiled by Olivia Beavers, Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at World Museum, National Museums Liverpool.

Welcome to the November 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 from you if you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest, please drop an email to blog@natsca.org.

Sector News

Museum Association Conference 2022 & The Wild Escape

Last week, the Museum Association held their Annual Conference from 3rd – 5th November in Edinburgh. The conference was online and in person for those that could attend.

One of the projects mentioned, that may be of interest to some, was The Wild Escape project led by Art Fund – ‘a major participatory project for museums and schools inspired by the wildlife found in museum and gallery collections’. The project was previously called the Great Escape but aims to connect nature and biodiversity particularly for children aged 7-11 but is relevant for all ages. The project runs from January to June 2023 but can be shortened/lengthened to your museum’s specific needs. Resources are currently online and more are still to come. Grants are still available in Scotland and Wales.

Visit their website to find out more about how to get involved in The Wild Escape project.

Online Symposium: Uniting Earth Science Collections

The Geological Curators Group (GCG) and The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP)have scheduled a meeting and seminar: Uniting Earth Science Collections. The one-day, online symposium takes place via Zoom on December 1st 2022. The 49th AGM of the Geological Curators Group will follow the first session of the seminar. Find out more and register here.

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