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Society for the History of Natural History

Strategic Plan 2018-2021

Strategic Plan 2018-2021

President’s Message

Council has been very busy over the last year reviewing the Society’s activities, membership and governance. Following a wide-ranging discussion at Council in February 2018 regarding the formulation of a strategic plan for the Society, a small working group developed a detailed document that addressed our mission, purpose and aims, assessed our strengths and weaknesses, explored key challenges and opportunities, and formulated a list of priorities for action. Council discussed this detailed text at its meeting in May 2018 and further minor changes made as a result.

Having reached broad agreement on the way forward I felt it was important at this point to develop a Strategic Statement  –  a precis of the detailed document – to feature on the Society’s website and in the Newsletter (NL 115, January 2019) to make members aware of Council’s decisions. At our meeting on 25 September 2018, this short Strategic Plan document was presented to Council, and after discussion and small amendments, it was agreed and signed by myself and the Honorary Secretary on Council’s behalf. The short ‘Strategic Statement’ follows this introduction, and I would welcome any comments that members might have about it − I feel it is vital that this strategy is owned by the membership.

Council members are now especially involved in delivering the strategy; Working Groups composed of Council members are looking at five key aspects of our activities that feature in the Strategic Plan, and I will report on progress in due course.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Davis
SHNH President


SHNH Strategic Plan 2018–2021

Mission, Purpose and Aims

  • The Society is instituted for the historical and bibliographical study of all branches of natural history, including their cultural and social aspects, across all cultures.
  • The Society shall promote the objects for which it was founded by the issue of publications and by such other means as the Council may from time to time direct.

Strategic aims 2018–2021

  • To improve our resilience by strengthening/widening our offer to engage more people in the history of natural history, attracting more members and so improving our financial position.
  • To ensure the Society is well-managed, delivers the expectations of its members and achieves its charitable purpose.
  • To re-invigorate and maintain links with the Natural History Museum which has been a key player in the history of, and support for, the Society.
  • To promote links with like-minded organisations, especially with regard to increasing membership and joint conferences.
  • To work closely with Edinburgh University Press in the publication of Archives of Natural History, and to develop a closer relationship regarding publicity, promotion and the management of the membership database.
  • To review the awards currently offered by the Society, including the processes used for their promotion, implementation and funding.
  • To explore the potential for more informal Society meetings/events to further networking, social connections and to engage new audiences.
  • To review the guidelines/roles and the support given to the Society’s International Representatives in order to strengthen their ability to organise events in their own countries to promote recruitment.
  • To regularly monitor and review the performance of the Society and report back to the annual Autumn meeting of Council.

This document was approved by the Council of the Society for the History of Natural History on 25 September 2018.