Sunday 23 March 2014

Top Ten Tips on Museums and Nature - from YNU Conference at York 2014

Terry Whitaker and Sharan and Peter Flint and I went to the annual conference of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union from Craven Conservation Group. Thanks for driving us Sharon. We parked at Park and drive. Other people came by train as the venue was next to the station.

Museums and Nature: the Modern Perspective

Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union Conference 2014
22nd March 2014, Conference Centre, Royal York Hotel, York

The people attending were naturalists from some of the 43 natural history societies in Yorkshire that are members of the YNU, plus some curators and volunteers from museums.  Int the coffee breaks and lunch breaks I met individuals  interested in Wasps, Bees, Fungi, Mites, Plant Galls,  Birds, Higher Plants, Beetles, Butterflies, Aquatic Plants, Molluscs, Mammals, Geology, Conservation volunteers and a host of other groups.

The papers that were given at this conference are eventually going to be put on the web. They will make useful reading.

Here are just some of the most interesting points I learned:

1. Always make sure your specimens are well labelled including..  (A.N/B.E)

Who collected it: you - (make sure it is labelled with your name - if all your specimens in future get handed to a museum  en block, your name may not be with each specimen. Who knows, one of your specimens may be new to science so then it is important to be able to credit it to you.)
Location name
Accurate grid reference
Vice County
Habitat - what plans or animals it was growing with
Name and who identified it to this name.  If you don't know its name, don'e worry, some expert later may identify it.

2. Make sure you arrange some power of attorney, and that it is written down what you wish to happen to your specimens and records.  (A.N)

People there an relate many cases where specimens, records and important photographs have been  binned/lost when a person has to go to a care home suddenly or when a person dies.

3. If you have natural history specimens you wish to bequeath to a museum, make sure the naturalist at the museum and the senior management of the Museum know and want it

4. It costs £30 per cubic foot per year to keep museum material in storage.  (A.N)


5. Most of the Museums in Yorkshire have lost the posts of permanent natural history curator and taxonomists.

6.  We don't have a "national museum" in Yorkshire, but we have three museums with "accredited status": Leeds, Sheffield and York.   (A.N.)Sheffield (Local/ Derbyshire).  York (Yorkshire)  Leeds (National).

7. There are many other museums in Yorkshire: including Scarbourough, Doncaster, Keighley, Huddersfield,  Sand Hutton.  (And I can think of many more )

8. The Yorkshire Philosophical Society was founded in 1822 and dealt with material from Kirkdale Cave near Kirby Moorside. It opened the Yorkshire Museum, York in 1830 in time for the Inaugural meeting of the British Association of the Advancement of Science (Now changed name to BSA) in 1831. (Sarah King who has been  the Curator of Natural Science at the Yorkshire Museum for four months gave a talk)

9.. There are many ways to send in your natural history records online (which can then be fed to the NBN Gateway). However a plea was given by the vice-county recorders of  Lepidoptera to send your data direct to the vice-county recorder of the group (whatever the group).  If it goes onto one of the more general websites (I-Spot, even the YNU website), the data still gets fed to the county recorder, but it takes them much more time to check the record.

However it is better if the same record gets sent in twice (or even three times) than not at all.

10. You can find out more about the YNU at  The  AGM will be held in November at Malham Tarn. The VC 64 Field Meeting will be held at Austwick Moss and Lawkland moss in July.

More pictures from the conference room.

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