Museums Lives: Oral history and the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is a world-class repository of 70 million specimens and an international centre of excellence in scientific study, and as such, its staff have personal knowledge which constitute an important cultural resource. Museum Lives aims to capture this knowledge and to create a high-quality multimedia resource for scholarship, education and exhibitions that will enrich the historical record and add new dimensions to the collections which will attract fresh audiences. The core project will create records relating to 50 interview subjects from across the Museum staff. For example, a curator's biography will be researched and he or she will be interviewed at length on camera, generating a searchable archive record and transcript. From this material themes will be identified for short films made to production standards suitable for educational and exhibition use -- often shot alongside specimens of which the curator has particular knowledge. Such films will be permanently linked to the specimens in the Museum's digital database and may also be used in connection with the specimens in public exhibition. The oral history resource will be available in edited form for public viewing on the Museum website.

Principal investigator
Mr Brian Cathcart
Principal project staff
Mr Brian Cathcart
Start date
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Completion date
Friday, July 1, 2011