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Digitising Malaysian species | Digital Collections Programme

In collaboration with the NGO Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia (ECOMY) we have begun a new digitisation project to digitise  the Museum’s collections that occur in Malaysia and its surrounding regions. Continue reading

Watching Winter in the Natural History Museum Wildlife Garden

As we work through the Wildlife Garden on seasonal tasks – completing the clearance and shredding the huge numbers of London plane tree leaves, coppicing and hedge-laying – there are always plenty of wildlife distractions to remind us of the value of this urban oasis. Wildlife gardener/Ecologist Joe Beale describes recent avian activity in the garden:

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

‘As the autumn progressed, flying insects and flowers naturally become harder to find and birds  replaced them as the most noticeable feature of the Wildlife Garden.

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A spectacular limestone that sparks creativity | Curator of Petrology

Specimens from the Museum petrology collection, known as Pietra paesina or “Ruin Marble” have inspired artist Julie Derbyshire to create unique works of art.

Pietra paesina Ruin marble

Pietra paesina specimen in one of the portholes in the Earth Galleries at The Natural History Museum, London.


Read on to find out more about Pietra paesina, how it formed, and how it inspired Julie’s artwork.

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The island that disappeared – the fascinating story behind our specimens from Graham Island | Curator of Petrology

The NHM petrology collection holds more than 126,000 specimens of geological and historical importance. We take a look at some historically important volcanic rocks that illustrate the story of a diplomatic fight over an island that disappeared.


Volcanic specimens from Graham Island held in the NHM Petrology collection

Read on to find out more in this post by our Sicilian Petrology Curator Epi Vaccaro about how the island formed, why it disappeared and the international dispute that it caused. Continue reading

Crowdsourcing our data in 2017 | Digital Collections Programme

The Digital Collections Programme has completed four crowdsourcing projects in 2017. We wanted to say a massive thank-you to the 2,000+ volunteers who together have helped us to capture data from over 15,000 specimens this year. You have made a significant contribution to Science.

1) collage for blog

Crowdsourcing our data in 2017

We can digitally image individual microscope slides at a rate of up to 1000 slides per day, but we still need help with capturing the label information on each slide. Transcription is an essential part of our digitisation process.

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Sequencing genomes with the Museum’s Frozen Collection | Digital Collections Programme

1) museum species

To commemorate the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute turning 25 in 2018, the Institute and its collaborators are sequencing 25 new genomes of species that reside in the UK and represent the richness of species in this country.  Continue reading

Delving in to Dippy – using the Archives to research our favourite colleague | Library and Archives

For Explore Your Archive Week Jordan Risebury-Crisp, Internal Communications Officer at the Museum, recalls how the Hintze Hall redevelopment prompted his own adventure in to the Museum’s past.

The Museum has seen a number of changes in the last few years. In 2015 it was announced that the much beloved and iconic Diplodocus cast, affectionately called Dippy, was to be removed from his position in the Museum’s Hintze Hall where he had stood proudly on display, greeting visitors as they arrived at the Museum for over four decades.

Black and white photograph of the Hintze Hall, taken from the main staircase looking toward the main entrance. Four lines of glass display cabinets line the main floor leading from the stairs towards the entrance. The specimen nearest the photographer on the second row is an adult adult and is facing away towards the entrance.

View of Hintze Hall looking South towards the main entrance, 1919 (PH/3/1/1827)

Following Dippy’s departure the entire hall would then undergo a multi-million pound transformation, involving renovation, re-imagining of displays and bringing our Museum into the 21st century; a tough feat to accomplish considering the hall has been open to the public from 1881.

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