Earlier in the week was the SPNHC and NatSCA 2014 conference located at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. I was fortunate enough to attend (even though it was only for the one day, Thursday) and got to see a few really interesting talks on advocacy and digitisation of Natural History collections.
I travelled down on the Wednesday, and took full advantage of the excellent weather with a walk round Cardiff Bay before going to find somewhere to eat, then went back to the hotel I was staying in for the night.
The next morning I made my way to the Millennium Centre to register, getting my name badge, goody bag and the all important WiFi code to keep up with the days tweeting and try one or two of my own!
My first stop was the Victor Salvi Suite, where the opening talk on advocacy took place. This talk was by Ben Garrod (from the BBC 4 ‘Secrets of Bones’ series). He made some really interesting points on how museums should be engaging the public and using the collections which they already have, as well as reiterating the different values Natural History collections have to different people – Academic, Research, Financial, Outreach, Inspiration and Sharing.
After Ben, the next speaker was Dermot Henry, the Manager of Natural Science collections at the Museum Victoria, Australia. He spoke about advocacy in relation to Geological collections, speaking about letting members of the public know about the collections museums have and to let them know who and what they are used for. He also pointed out that Geological collections have many different research uses and how diverse they can be.
The 3rd session of the morning was delivered by Jack Ashby, the Manager of Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL , speaking about the popularity of Natural History collections and an independent study funded by Arts Council England and undertaken by Jenesys Associates Ltd. I won’t go into the full findings, but here is a link to the study, the full 48 page report. However it was found during the study that the most favourite type of gallery was in fact Natural Sciences, with 41% of those who could, choosing this option. The picture below shows galleries which people always visited, with Natural Sciences coming second, with 54%, only to Live Animal galleries with 59%.
I’ll try and post the second part to this blog later on in the day, or over the weekend, as right now I’m off up to the Herbarium to see what’s in store for me today!