|The Natural History Museum Annual Review 2003 | 2004|
|Introduction||The Director's Review||Our Year||World Class Science|
|Opening Up the Collection||Darwin Centre Innovation||3 Million+ Visitors||A Place for Learning|
|Working for Us||Looking Ahead||Our Supporters||Financial Review|
|Corporate Governance||Previous Years' Reports|
|(Annual Report Home - graphics and PDF)|
|Darwin Centre Innovation|
'Darwin Centre Phase One has demonstrated the overwhelming public interest in the scientific issues which confront us today. Phase Two will build on this work and
ensure that we all have the opportunity to play an active role in the conservation of the biodiversity of the planet.'
Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Prime Minister.
|Phase One||Phase Two||Raising the Funds|
Phase One success. The Darwin Centre is our ambitious vision for museums of the future. As well as protecting the collections for future generations, the Darwin Centre is opening up our science in new and imaginative ways. Visitors can hear at first hand from our researchers, view the collections, and find out more about scientific advances. Through the Darwin Centre Live webcasts, we are reaching out to a worldwide audience.
Phase One of the Darwin Centre opened in September 2002 and has now completed its first, triumphant year - a year in which we welcomed more than 320,000 visitors. We were delighted to receive so many enthusiastic responses, both from members of the public and from representatives of scientific institutions who came to South Kensington from as far afield as Japan and New Zealand to assess our achievement for themselves. The success of Phase One helped the Museum win several accolades, including two prestigious awards for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, from the London Tourism Awards for 2003 and the Excellence in England Awards for 2004.
During the first year more than 25,000 visitors came to our daily Darwin Centre Live presentations, where our scientists discuss their work with a live audience, sometimes with live link-ups to colleagues around the world. In addition to the regular daytime sessions, the Darwin Centre Live team has developed a popular series of special evening events in which prominent experts and scientists debate topical issues.
Phase Two: the museum of the future. We are developing a bold visitor concept that will build on the success of Phase One, further breaking down the barriers between science and the public. Visitors to Phase Two will take a self-guided journey across several floors, where they will be able to view the science areas. Innovative, hands-on learning displays and resources will prompt them to explore aspects of the natural world and encourage them to become more involved in efforts to conserve biodiversity.
Internet visitors will benefit from improved online facilities. We intend to create an extensive learning outreach resource around the Darwin Centre that schools, families and lifelong learners can use to further their understanding of the natural world.
Raising the funds. Phase One of the Darwin Centre was largely financed from our own resources, whilst Phase Two requires external funding. The Campaign, which is now nearing completion, has secured funds from individuals, trusts, foundations and the corporate sector. Most recently, a further £5 million was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in addition to their original grant of £15.5 million. In the final phase of the Campaign, to be launched in 2005, we hope to raise the remaining funds required through the support of the public.
We need your support. To help us achieve our Phase Two vision, please contact our Development Office on (020) 7942 5890.
Phase Two will be the new home for the collection of 28 million insect specimens and most of the botany collection. The new structure, designed by the Danish architectural practice CF Møller, will connect the Victorian Waterhouse Building to the Darwin Centre Phase One.
Andy Currant - Vertebrate Curator.
'What's so great about Darwin Centre Live is that it gives us an opportunity to talk to the public about our work. It's proved to be a very successful concept - visitors love it, the webcasts are bringing in online audiences, and the informal environment makes the whole experience very enjoyable for the presenter. It's a bit like standing on a soap box at Hyde Park Corner - you engage directly with people, they respond and hopefully your enthusiasm rubs off on them. When the presentation is over, I usually take people in the audience back to the department to show them more of the work we are doing behind the scenes.'
'Many of the scientists at the Museum have now given Darwin Centre Live presentations, and for some of them public presentation has been a new and rewarding experience. As scientists, we have a responsibility to keep in contact with the public, to make them aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it.'