The Natural History Museum Annual Report 2002|03
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The Director's view / 2002/3 Highlights / The Darwin Centre / Our Research / The collections / Exhibitions / Sharing knowledge / Managing our assets / Museum supporters / 2003 exhibitions and events / Financial review / Publications / Feedback / Museum contacts / Previous Year's Reports / Full graphics version

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The Director's view / Reaching out / Meeting the challenges

Meeting the challenges
Our collections and the scientific work that they support have never been more important than they are today, in spite of the shortfall in funding that the Museum has experienced over the past decade, in common with the other UK systematics institutions. In 2002, the House of Lords Select Committee for Science and Technology called for increased grant-in-aid to protect the UK collections and to recognize the increased workload arising from international obligations such as the Convention on Biological Diversity. We are pressing the Government to act upon the Select Committee’s findings.

We also face financial challenges arising from the large increase in visitor numbers, which is imposing infrastructure costs that are not fully provided for under current funding arrangements. We are responding positively, for example by taking steps to maximize our trading income and utilize our resources effectively in the free entry environment. As we explained to the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport in October, we are revitalizing our organizational structure, planning new initiatives to attract more diverse audiences, and rethinking the ways in which we deploy space and display our treasures.

We relish the tasks ahead, as we reshape the Museum to meet the needs of the coming century. We have a highly supportive board of Trustees in place, now under the chairmanship of Professor Sir Keith O’Nions. He has replaced Lord Oxburgh, who has served us so well. In July 2003 we welcomed a new Director of Science, Dr Richard Lane, a former Keeper of Entomology at the Museum with wide experience of working with governments and agencies around the world. We thank the retiring Director of Science, Professor Paul Henderson, for the great contribution he has made to our science.

We are fortunate to have such a strong and capable team of talented staff. I would like to thank them all for their support during the year.
Sir Neil Chalmers

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