NatSCA Conference & AGM 2019

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 12:00 to Friday, May 3, 2019 - 17:00
National Museum of Ireland - Collins Barracks, Benburb St, Arran Quay, Dublin, Ireland

The Annual Conference & AGM of the Natural Sciences Collections Association will be held between the 1st and 3rd May 2019 at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin – Collins Barracks site.

The afternoon of the first day will include tours and a pre-meeting social, the second day will include the AGM, presentations and poster sessions, and the third day will include presentations and tours.

Dead Interesting: Secrets of Collections Success

The #NatSCA2019 conference aims to unlock the secrets of collections success by sharing how our members and colleagues in the wider sector have used collections to benefit their organisations, communities and the wider world.

We will host three themed sessions, with a focus on:

  • Collections: Revealing collections care, research and access secrets
  • Museums and Tech: How technology has helped unlock, understand and unleash collections
  • Engagement: Engagement success stories and how to make them happen

This conference intends to offer an opportunity to share the best ideas and approaches to working with collections. We have prioritised papers that focus on sharing ideas, tools and guidance rather than simply reporting results.

Conference Programme

Click here to download the NatSCA 2019 Conference Programme as a pdf.

Wednesday, 1st May - Pre-conference activities
12:00 - 14:30 Tour of NMI Collections Resource Centre
15:00 - 17:00 Tour of National Botanic Gardens
18:00 - 20:00 Pre-meeting social (location TBC)
Thursday, 2nd May - Day 1
8:45 - 9:35 Registration and coffee
9:35 - 9:40 Introduction & housekeeping
9:40 - 9:45 Welcome
Lynn Scarff, Director of NMI


First Session
9:45 - 9:55 Brexit and the Customs Union: The practical impact on museums
Clare Brown, Leeds Museums & Galleries & Paolo Viscardi, National Museum of Ireland
9:55 - 10:10 Success with CITES: Museums and Article 60
Rachel Jennings, Powell-Cotton Museum
10:10 - 10:30 Investigating alkaloid preservation in herbarium specimens and potential social implications of storing plants with alkaloids
Karen Bacon, University of Leeds
10:30 - 10:50 Secrets of Designation Unlocked: the Tullie House Natural Science Collections and a Window into Cumbrian Biodiversity
Simon Jackson, Tully House Museum and Art Gallery
10:50 - 11:10 Coffee Break
Second Session
11:10 - 11:30 Cryoarks: Enhancing frozen collections across the UK
Kirsty Lloyd, Natural History Museum, London
11:30 - 11:50 Users and uses of the NHM herbaria (BM) – changes, chances and perspectives
Norbert Holstein, Natural History Museum, London
11:50 - 12:10 Curating Minority Collections: A focus on Fungi
Nathan Smith, British Mycological Society
12:10 - 12:30 Museum Collections – an untapped resource for informing wildlife conservation?
Rob Gandola, UCD, Cat Hendry, Herpetological Society of Ireland & Paolo Viscardi, National Museum of Ireland
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch & Poster session
13:30 - 14:20 AGM
Reports on the running of NatSCA and elections to the Commitee
Third Session
14:20 - 14:35 'Wild about Portsmouth' - discovering and uncovering a little known known Natural History Collection
Christine Taylor, Portsmouth Museums
14:35 - 14:50 Movers, not shakers: challenges and solutions for relocating an entomology collection
Esmeralda Herrero, National Museum of Ireland & Paolo Viscardi, National Museum of Ireland
14:50 - 15:05 Making the Most of What You’ve Got
Dr Emma Nicholls, The Horniman Museum and Gardens
15:05 - 15:20 If I knew then what I know now: Scientific discoveries from the NHM, London mammal collections
Roberto Portela Miguez, Natural History Museum
15:20 - 15:40 Coffee Break & Poster session

Museums & Technology

Fourth Session
15:40 – 16:00 The collections horizon: Known unknowns and unknown unknowns
Lee Davies, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
16:00 – 16:20 Typing up the Types: Digitising the insect type collection at National Museums Scotland
Ashleigh Whiffin, National Museums Scotland
16:20 – 16:40 Imaging our Horticultural past, present and future
Clare Booth-Downs, Royal Horticultural Society & Yvette Harvey, Royal Horticultural Society
16:40 – 17:00 Seeing through the glass: understanding and interpreting Blaschka models using modern technology
Emmanuel G. Reynaud, University College Dublin, & Paolo Viscardi, National Museum of Ireland
17:00 End and Drinks in nearby pub
20:00 Conference dinner at The Market Bar, Fade Street, Dublin
Friday, 3rd May – Day 2
09:00 – 9:25 Registration, posters and coffee
09:25 – 9:30 Introduction & housekeeping


Fifth Session
9:30 – 9:50 Inspiring, Enthusing and Engaging - Where is learning and engagement going to go next?
Dean Veall, Freelance
9:50 – 10:10 Arsenic and Old Books: Using Danger as a Tool for Engagement
Alexandra Newman, Smithsonian Libraries
10:10 – 10:30 It’s alive! And it’s got too many legs! The use of live arachnids alongside specimens in community engagement
Ella Deutsch, University of Nottingham
10:30 – 10:50 Outreach on a Budget – Actual and Virtual
Mike G. Rutherford, The University of the West Indies Zoology Museum, UWI
10:50 – 11:10 Coffee break & Poster session
Sixth Session
11:10 – 11:30 The Brymbo Fossil Forest Project: The Future Interface of the Public and Palaeontology?
Tim Astrop, Brymbo Heritage Project
11:30 – 11:50 The #Cyclapeople: development of deep engagement to enhance the scientific value of a collection
Alastair Culham, Herbarium, University of Reading
11:50 – 12:10 Seduce, Entertain and Inform: Using commercial photographic techniques in Scientific Communication
Steve Galloway, University of Nottingham, David McMahon, University of Nottingham, & Tom Hartman, University of Nottingham
12:10 – 12:30 Transformative Collections – how collections work can change lives.
Sarah Briggs, Museums Association, & Sally Colvin, Museums Association
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch & Poster session
Tours and talks at NMI – Natural History & Trinity College Dublin Zoology Museum
These two sets of tours will include talks about education, engagement and outreach carried out at the Trinity College Dublin Zoology Museum and National Museum of Ireland – Natural History.
14:00 – 15:20 Group 1 – NMINH / Group 2 TCD Zoology
15:30 – 16:50 Group 2 – NMINH / Group 1 TCD Zoology
17.00 Conference end


If you would like to attend tours please BOOK a time, location and date. We will be organising a free coach for the Wednesday tours, with capacity for 45 people. The coach will pick-up from the airport at several times between 10:30am and 2:15pm (full details of location and time once bookings are confirmed).
Weds 1 May, 1pm - NMI Collections Resource Centre
Weds 1 May, 3pm - National Botanic Gardens
Fri 3 May, 2-5pm - Dead Zoo (NMINH) and TCD Zoology Museum

Conference Meal

This year's conference meal is at Market Bar - lots of yummy tapas - it is a set menu available to view on their website.
Spaces are limited, so please book early! The meal is not compulsory, but most people do come - very informal and lots of fun. It's much easier for everyone if you book in advance.


We recommend booking via Eventbrite (see interface below).

Early bird booking (by March 22nd 2019):
Two day cost: NatSCA members £90 non-member £125
One day cost: NatSCA members £50 non-member £70
From March 22nd 2019:
Two day cost NatSCA members £120 non-member £140
One day cost NatSCA members £65 non-member £85
The day you speak is free of charge. Additional days charged at above one day costs. A promotional code will release these free tickets.
Conference meal at Market Bar - £22 (includes service charge)

Members - please contact for your promotional code to release discounted tickets. Please note, institutional members may claim up to two discounted places. If you'd like to become a member please use the same email address.

The most efficient way to book is using this Eventbrite system via above or

However, if your organisation is unable to pay in this manner please complete this booking form by clicking here and email it to

Please note, NatSCA is not VAT registered and no VAT is being charged.


Refunds will be offered until 5pm on April 24th. Please email

Meetings Policies

As a NatSCA led event, this event is subject to our meetings policies, which can be found here.