1st Edition

Managing Natural Science Collections A Guide to Strategy, Planning and Resourcing

    248 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Managing Natural Science Collections demonstrates the need for consistency and evidence-based decision making in the management of natural science collections, which are becoming increasingly valuable when it comes to addressing societal challenges.

    Drawing upon the experience of four experts who have managed some of the largest and most diverse collections in the world, the book aims to assist in the making of strategic and operational decisions regarding care, development, access and resource management. Encouraging the reader to consider how collection strategies can be aligned with the mission of their institution and contribute to its vision, the authors also examine ways to deliver a consistent approach that will secure the present and future availability and relevance of collections. Principles of good practice and resource optimisation in an ethical and legal context are provided throughout the book, as well as case studies, sample documents and templates, all of which will be useful for discussion and teaching.

    Managing Natural Science Collections encourages each reader to consider the different options available to them. As such, it should be essential reading for museum practitioners and other professionals around the world who are involved with any strategic aspect of managing natural science collections. Students of museum studies will also find much to interest them within the pages of this book.

    List of Figures




    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2 Natural Science Collections – Their Place in Society

    Chapter 3: Strategy and Management

    Chapter 4: Governance, Legal Aspects and Policy Relating to Strategic Management of Natural Science Collections

    Chapter 5: Staff Resources

    Chapter 6: Acquisition and Deaccession

    Chapter 7: Virtual Collections

    Chapter 8: Access to Collections

    Chapter 9: Asking the Right Questions – Putting it All into Practice





    Robert Huxley was Head of Botanical Collections at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London for 21 years, where he led the team managing the NHM’s 5.2 million plant and fungal specimens. He is now a Scientific Associate at the NHM, an Honorary Curator at World Museum, Liverpool and a Guest Researcher at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin (MfN).

    Christiane Quaisser has worked on strategic management of natural science collections for more than ten years. In 2013, she became Head of Collections at the MfN, leading the change into the new Science Programme, Collection Development and Biodiversity Discovery.

    Carol R Butler has led the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History collections work for more than ten years, rising to the position of Assistant Director for Collections in 2012. Her current interests are in collections assessment, developing means of describing collections as resources, encouraging best practices in tracking the uses of collections and in developing communities for broad collaborations.

    René WRJ Dekker has 35 years of experience in research and management of natural history collections, as Scientist, Curator and Director of Collections. He has authored over 80 papers and a book on megapode birds (The Megapodes, 1995). He has now returned to research as Senior Scientist in ornithology at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center.