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)
 
Working for Us
The services we provide for visitors and commercial partners generate revenue that supports our research and public work. One of our key priorities is to improve utilisation of the South Kensington site and we have established a framework for future developments within this unique structure.
 
Earning Valuable Revenue Books and Publications Consultancy Services A Framework for Development
Energy Efficiency The Quality of our People Accomplishments  
 

Earning valuable revenue. Our commercial activities had an encouraging year and mostly met or exceeded expectations.

Our catering services achieved notable improvements with attractive visitor offers, new food ideas, and a robust marketing strategy designed to increase the visibility of our catering venues. We improved the venues during the year, particularly the Life Galleries Restaurant which benefited from a major refurbishment.

This was an exciting year for our retail team. The growth in visitor numbers helped to boost sales turnover - August 2003 was our best-ever month for retail sales. A new range of NHM-branded merchandise was successfully launched, the result of a collaboration between our retail, image resources and design teams. During the year a major project to develop a new retail outlet was approved. The new shop, which opened in October 2004, consolidates our existing outlets into a single, more effective retail space. We also developed an ethical and green procurement system for retail products.

Books and publications. Our publishing team's successes included the exhibition-linked book by Susan Snell and Polly Tucker Life Through a Lens: Photographs from the Natural History Museum, 1880 to 1950, which received extensive press coverage. Another success was Potted Histories, which reproduced a large selection of original botanical artworks held by the Museum with text by Dr Sandy Knapp - the French edition Le Voyage Botanique won the P J Redouté prize. The first issues of Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and Systematics and Biodiversity were well received. Published in conjunction with Cambridge University Press, these journals are the successors to the Bulletins of the Natural History Museum.

Published in 2003/04: Butterflies, Dick Vane-Wright / Dragonflies, Steve Brooks / Fungi, Roy Watling / Specimens, Roger Lincoln and Phil Rainbow / Life Through a Lens; Photographs from the Natural History Museum, 1880 to 1950, Susan Snell and Polly Tucker / Potted Histories, Sandy Knapp / Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Editor: Andrew Smith / Systematics and Biodiversity, Editor: Brian Rosen / Seaweeds 1 (3b), Juliet Brodie and Linda Irvine / Seeds of Trade, Henry Hobhouse and Sandra Knapp (a 'virtual book').

Consultancy services. Our expertise is made available to commercial clients through NHM Consulting, which is organised into sectors covering Coastal & Marine Environmental Assessment, Freshwater & Terrestrial Environmental Assessment, Collections Management, Petroleum, Mining, Analytical Facilities and Fossil Replicas. An Engineering Geology sector has been established to meet the needs of clients requiring the services of our specialists in stratigraphy and mineralogical interpretation.

Our science consulting teams enjoyed another successful year and generated a financial surplus of £0.45 million. Projects during the year included a new Global Information System and petrological database for Mongolia, and assessment of stability issues at Southerham Grey Pit in Sussex.

A new Interpretation, Planning & Design service has been established to provide consulting support for visitor attractions, and has won contracts in the UK and overseas.

A framework for development. Working with Rick Mather Architects, we have developed a blueprint for the future development of the South Kensington site. Called the NHM Masterplan, it provides a 20-year framework for improvements to the property such as better access, organisation and circulation within the public spaces, and improved environmental conditions for the collections and the people who work with them. The Masterplan also provides a context for delivering the objectives set out in our Building Conservation Plan - to reveal the full splendour of our fine heritage listed buildings and protect them for the future.

Energy efficiency. We were re-accredited under the Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme, following an independent audit. The scheme requires that we are audited every three years to ensure that we are continuing to deliver on our commitments. In addition, we were the first museum to sign-up to the award-winning Green-Works initiative that provides environmental solutions for unwanted furniture.

The quality of our people. The Museum is a community of 911 highly capable and respected people. It is through their energy and dedication that we are able to release the value in our assets. Our Human Resources team provided more than 1,000 training places on a variety of programmes to help them develop their professional skills.

We are taking active measures to remove possible barriers to the progression of women scientists. A working party has proposed a series of initiatives which the Museum has enthusiastically endorsed.

We are indebted to our volunteers, some 200 of whom give their time and expertise to the Museum's great benefit. Many volunteers give a day or more a week, working in the scientific departments, helping with the databasing of the collections, or assisting the Learning and Library teams. Volunteers range from school and university students on work experience or placements to retired people, including former Museum employees.

For employment and equal opportunities data see www.nhm.ac.uk/info/corporate/opportunities.

Accomplishments. Many of our scientists and researchers are eminent specialists with international reputations. We are privileged to have four Fellows of the Royal Society and 13 Individual Merit Promotion (IMP) scientists on our staff. There were some notable personal achievements during the year:

  • Professor Chris Stringer was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • Dr Monica Grady, Dr Sandy Knapp and Dr Mark Wilkinson received Individual Merit Promotions in the UK Research Council's 2003 scheme.
  • Dr Grady was selected through open competition to give the televised Royal Institution Christmas lectures in 2003 on the theme A Voyage in Space and Time.
  • Professor Richard Fortey was awarded the 2004 Lewis Thomas prize by the Rockefeller University, New York for his books and writings, which include the well-received Earth: An Intimate History published in 2004.
  • Axel Muller, one of our post-doctoral fellows, received the Abraham Gottlob Werner medal for 2003 from the German Society of Geosciences.
  • Keith Willmott received an award for the best paper in systematic entomology for 2001/02 from the Royal Entomological Society.
  • Dick Vane-Wright, Keeper of Entomology, was designated Doctor of Science by the University of Copenhagen.
  • Museum Explainer Dr Adrian Rundle has been awarded the Geologists' Association's Halstead Award for his contribution to geology.

Dr Adrian Rundle - Explainer.
Adrian Rundle joined the Museum five years ago. A lifelong enthusiast for the natural world, with a doctorate in fossil molluscs, he works as an Explainer for five days a week, then puts in another day in the Palaeontology Department where he is helping to database the microfossil collection.

His work as an Explainer brings him into constant contact with the public in the Investigate gallery, the Earth Lab, and the Wildlife Garden, where he gives pond life workshops. He has also given a Darwin Centre Live presentation - on 'fabulous fish ear-stones'.

'I want to show people the natural world, get them enthusiastic and give them support if they want to take their interest further,' he says. 'I think of myself as an Enthuser rather than an Explainer. If I can help people to develop an enthusiasm for the natural world, then perhaps they will take better care of it.'

 
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