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Society for the History of Natural History

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Conference: Refloating the Ark, 17–18 June 2015

Conference: Refloating the Ark, 17–18 June 2015

Conference announcement: “Refloating the Ark: connecting the public and scientists with natural history museums”, 17–18 June 2015, Manchester Museum, UK.

 One day: £25 Two days: £40

(includes refreshments and lunch)

About this conference

How can museums with natural history collections support high-quality public engagement with nature? How can their collections support scientific research and environmental monitoring? This two-day conference will explore these questions through presentations from leading museum workers, ecologists, citizen science managers, data managers and academics from a variety of fields, with plenty of opportunities to share your views and take part in discussion.

The aim of the conference is to explore how museums can fulfil their potential to support environmental sustainability, and connect people with the natural world. It is aimed at museum workers of all kinds, environmental educators, conservationists, scientific researchers, artists, naturalists, teachers, funders and the biological recording community—and anyone else who is interested in exploring innovative ways to connect people with nature.

Day 1: Engaging the public with environmental sustainability in natural history museums

How can natural history museums effectively connect audiences with nature and environmental issues, and what can they learn from other sectors? How can natural history museums promote pro-environmental behaviour and what responsibilities do they have to do so? What parts can art and science play in museums, to promote environmental awareness and pro-environmental behaviour?

With presentations from Ralph Underhill (Public Interest Research Centre); Bob Bloomfield OBE; Ryan Lumber (Dept. of Life Sciences, University of Derby); Peronel Craddock (Head of Content Development, NHM); Ed Gillespie (co-founder, Futerra); Elee Kirk (museologist, University of Leicester); Petra Tjitske Kalshoven (social anthropologist, University of Manchester), and Ebony Andrews (museologist, University of Leeds).

Day 2: Connecting natural history collections with scientific research

How can museums increase the visibility of collections on a shoestring? How can museums benefit from research funding—and where is it? What future do collections have as scientific infrastructure? How can museums connect with biological recording and environmental monitoring initiatives? How can citizen science approaches engage people with collections? These questions form the basis of the day’s presentations.

With presentations from Paul Smith (Director, Oxford University Museum of Natural History); Imran Rahman (palaeontologist, University of Bristol); Nick Merriman (Director, Manchester Museum); Lucy Robinson (Citizen Science Programme Manager, NHM); Michael Pocock and Helen Roy (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology / Biological Records Centre); Rob Simpson (Zooniverse); Rachel Stroud (National Biodiversity Network); Rob Huxley (Principal Curator, NHM); Paolo Viscardi (Chair, Natural Sciences Collections Association); Paula Brikci and Penny Thompson (Arts Council England); Sharon Heal (Director, Museums Association).

To attend

Please email David Gelsthorpe ( with your name, organisation (if any) and whether you want to attend Day 1, Day 2 or Both Days. 


More information

For more information please visit