NatSCA Digital Digest – July

Compiled by Lily Nadine Wilkes, NatSCA Volunteer.

Welcome to the July 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 exhibition launches, conferences (live or virtual) and webinars, and new or interesting online content. If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to

What To See & Do

The ‘Insectarium: Fascination and Fear’ exhibition present artwork on the feelings that insects inspire in us. If you can’t make it to Aberlady, Scotland, you can view the art online here.

If you’re looking for something crafty to do there are plenty of online workshops to take part in. With the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 14th July at 8pm participate and enjoy ‘Drawn to Nature: Conservation’. In this online event you will hear about the art of conservation before taking a chance to draw some natural history specimens. The Natural History Museum are offering making sessions where you can create a crochet dinosaur or make your own plant pot.

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NatSCA Digital Digest – June

The beautiful mineral Cuprite, from Phoenix Mine, Cornwall. (© Plymouth Museums, Galleries, Archives).

Post-Conference Blues

It’s been a few months since our 2018 conference and AGM at Leeds City Museum. It was wonderful to see so many people there – to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones. And as always, I am so sad when it is over. I guess this is why it’s nice to revisit what went on for the two days. There have been a few different write ups about the conference:

David Waterhouse, Senior Curator of Natural History, Norfolk Museums Service, wrote his first blog post ever all about his time at the conference here.

Glenys Wass, Heritage Collections Manager at Peterborough Museum wrote about her summary of the conference talks here.

Jan Freedman (me), Curator of Natural History, at Plymouth Museums, Galleries, Archives, shared my experiences of the conference here.

Plus, the talks from the conference will be written up either for the NatSCA blog, the Notes & Comments, or the Journal of Natural Science Collections.

The Future of Museum Collections

Leading on from the conference, one talk by Alistair Brown at the Museums Association, looked at where collections will be in 2030. This new research project will be working with museum staff to understand issues that currently face museums and where they want them to be in less than 15 years time. A write up of the Collections 2030 project can be found here.

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Request for Poster Submissions for Bone Collections Conference

Bone Collections: Using, conserving and understanding osteology in museums.

Tuesday, 8th September 2015
University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

NatSCA invites you to submit abstracts for short, informal poster presentations to be held at the NatSCA Bone Collections day on the 8th September at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge.

The day will include both a workshop on in-depth case studies of bone cleaning, re-articulation, conservation and restoration as well as presentations on bone identification and preparation, covering a wide variety of museum osteology topics.

Spaces are still available for both workshop and talks. The full programme and booking are available here.

Working with, understanding, using, maintaining and conserving bone collections is a large and complex topic. If you have experience and would like to submit a poster, please follow the guidelines below.

We hope that this poster session will facilitate skills-sharing and friendly discussion among participants, as well as providing an opportunity to exchange tips and tricks. Poster presentations are an ideal format for student projects, case studies, innovative ideas, and tried and tested techniques, as well as research related to this topic.

Abstracts must be submitted by 14th August, 2015. All submissions will be acknowledged within a few days. The posters will be on view throughout the day, with an organised time period for authors to discuss posters with conference attendees. Please ensure posters are no larger than A2 (420 x 594mm).

All abstracts will be printed and made available to attendees, and all posters will be made available on the NatSCA blog in pdf format.

Abstract submission:

  • List all authors: surname first, followed by first and middle names or initials. Separate authors’ names with semicolons
  • List authors’ institutions and addresses
  • Include the title in boldface
  • Abstract

Please send your abstracts and any queries to:

Natalie Jones
T 07786 023709


Vicky Purewal

T 07917533411

NatSCA Digital Digest

Welcome to the new weekly digest of posts from around the web with relevance to natural science collections. We hope you find this useful and if you have any articles that you feel would be of interest, please contact us at

1. Blog: Dr Woodward’s Fossils

Dr Ken McNamara, Sedgwick Museum of Geology


How the Sedgwick Museum began as a collection of 10,000 fossils ‘of all kinds’ belonging to John Woodward, and his bequest of £100 a year to ‘keep a lecturer’. The fossils were kept for 300 years in five beautiful walnut cabinets, pictured herein. Originally called the Woodwardian Museum, this blog looks at how Woodward helped to shape the museum, and the legacy he left behind.

Bothriolepis, a fossil fish. (C) UCL Grant Museum

2. Blog: What can Twitter do for our collection?

Giles Miller, Natural History Museum


Case study showed ‘major players’ retweeting you leads to a greater number of retweets and new followers. Timing of tweets is essential, e.g. weekend tweets hardly ever get retweeted. Twitter may not affect KPIs in a measurable manner, but it opens up the museum to an audience that would never otherwise visit for logistical reasons. It also facilitates access to parts of the collections that are not on display.

3. Event: The Future of Museums

A conference and workshop for early career museum professionals


Designed to collate the ideas of aspiring museum professionals, a series of talks and discussions will be followed by the opportunity for delegates to collaborate on a manifesto for museums and collections.

4. Event: Human Evolution – The Story of Us

A four hour only pop-up event Friday 7th March at UCL


This mini exhibition will showcase rarely seen objects from UCL’s Biological Anthropology Collection of early hominin fossil casts, including Lucy, the famous Australopithecus afarensis from East Africa. The objects exhibited will also include tools and visitors will have the chance to ‘meet the scientists’. The event will take place in the Rock Room at UCL, which has permanent displays of geological collections.

Neanderthal from BBC’s Prehistoric Autopsy exhibition at the Horniman Museum. (C) Paolo Viscardi

5. Event: Written in Stone: Life and Death in the Fossil record

Evening workshop at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, Birmingham


The workshop will be an interactive exploration of Cambrian organisms that formed part of the Cambrian Explosion and the subsequent Biodiversification Event of the Ordovician. These two points in Earth’s history are considered to be the foundations of the Earth’s biodiversity in the modern day.

Compiled by Emma-Louise Nicholls, NatSCA Blog Editor