The Museum is managed by the Museum Director and the Executive Board.
Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon reports to the Board of Trustees. Eight of the 12 Trustees are appointed by the Prime Minister and one (Royal Society Trustee) by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The remaining three are appointed by the board itself.
Originally the natural history departments of the British Museum, the Natural History Museum became a separate entity through the British Museum Act 1963.
We were known as the British Museum (Natural History) until we officially became the Natural History Museum through the Museums and Galleries Act 1992.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees meets four times a year and is responsible for overseeing the management of the Museum and the appointment of the Museum Director, currently Sir Michael Dixon.
The board is composed of 12 members: eight Trustees are selected by the Prime Minister, one (Royal Society Trustee) is nominated by the DCMS and three are chosen by the board itself. Trustees are appointed for four years, and may serve a second consecutive four-year term before standing down.
The current members of the Board of Trustees are:
- Chair - The Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint - biography PDF (79KB)
- Sir John Beddington CMG FRS - biography PDF (82KB)
- Dame Frances Cairncross DBE FRSE - biography PDF (134KB)
- Prof Christopher Gilligan - biography PDF (77KB)
- Prof Sir John Holman - biography PDF (87KB)
- Anand Mahindra - biography PDF (103KB)
- Hilary Newiss - biography PDF (27KB)
- Robert Noel - biography PDF (81KB)
- Simon Patterson - biography PDF (30KB)
- Prof Stephen Sparks FRS CBE - biography PDF (88KB)
- Prof Dame Janet Thornton DBE FRS FMedSci - biography PDF (103KB)
- Dr Kim L Winser OBE - biography PDF (87KB)
Board of Trustees meeting minutes:
- Minutes of the board meeting - 16/05/2017 PDF (277KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 21/02/2017 PDF (236KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 22/11/2016 PDF (228 KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 05/07/2016 PDF (292KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 17/05/2016 PDF (258KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 23/02/2016 PDF (212KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 17/11/2015 PDF (262KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 19/05/2015 PDF (247KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 24/02/2015 PDF (249KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 30/06/2015 PDF (2.9MB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 18/11/2014 PDF (231KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 1/07/2014 PDF (3.3MB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 13/05/2014 PDF (129KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 1/04/2014 PDF (80KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 25/02/2014 PDF (132KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 19/11/2013 PDF (4.3MB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 2/07/2013 PDF (4.4MB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 21/05/2013 PDF (213KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 5/03/2013 PDF (143KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 20/11/2012 PDF (187KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 3/07/2012 PDF (86KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 22/05/2012 PDF (121KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting - 28/02/2012 PDF (79KB)
The Executive Board is responsible for running the Museum under the leadership of the Museum Director, who is appointed by the Board of Trustees.
The Executive Board approves the Museum's policies, procedures, programmes and projects. It formulates and monitors the Museum's corporate plan, delegates decision-making responsibilities to other management groups where appropriate, and has collective responsibility for the entire Museum.
The current members of the Executive Board are:
- Sir Michael Dixon – Museum Director
- Prof Ian Owens – Director of Science
- Neil Greenwood – Director of Finance and Corporate Services
- Fiona McWilliams – Director of Development and Communications
The Director of Public Engagement post is currently vacant.
Audit and Risk Committee
The Audit and Risk Committee is a committee of the Board of Trustees.
It provides the board with assurance that adequate corporate governance, risk management and internal control processes are in place and working effectively. It also reviews the board's code of practice, register of interests and code of conduct for staff.
The current members of the Audit and Risk Committee are:
- Chair - Hilary Newiss
- Prof Christopher Gilligan
- Mr Colin Hudson (co-opted)
- Mr Robert Noel
Those who attend the committee’s meetings include:
- Sir Michael Dixon - Museum Director and Accounting Officer
- Jan Day - Head of Risk and Assurance
- Mr Neil Greenwood - Director of Finance
- External audit representatives
Audit and Risk Committee meeting minutes:
- Minutes of the meeting - 03/11/2016 PDF (145KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 30/6/2016 PDF (112KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 05/05/2016 PDF (297KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 11/02/2016 PDF (120KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 12/11/2015 PDF (280KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 25/06/2015 PDF (280KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 5/05/2015 PDF (272KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 11/02/2015 PDF (252KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 06/11/2014 PDF (143KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 26/06/2014 PDF (125KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 08/05/2014 PDF (101KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 13/02/2014 PDF (93KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 24/10/2013 PDF (85KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 27/06/2013 PDF (110KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 08/05/2013 PDF (93KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 14/02/2013 PDF (261KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 8/11/2012 PDF (80KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 28/06/2012 PDF (82KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 9/05/2012 PDF (119KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 9/02/2012 PDF (107KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 17/11/11 PDF (98KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 29/06/11 PDF (94KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 5/05/11 PDF (89KB)
- Minutes of the meeting - 10/02/11 PDF (89KB)
The Museum maintains a register of gifts and hospitality which is reviewed by the Audit Committee. Information can be made available upon request.
Information on allowances and expenses can be made available on request.
The majority of the Museum’s funding comes from government grant-in-aid through the DCMS. This funding is set for a number of years, and the Museum provides reports to the DCMS on how it has met its agreed targets.
- DCMS funding agreement 2016/17-2020/21 PDF (597KB)
- DCMS funding agreement 2011/2012-2014/2015 PDF (434KB)
- DCMS funding agreement 2007/2008-2011/2012 PDF (153KB)
The remainder of the funding for our core work comes from fundraising and the Museum’s commercial activities, which are conducted through the Natural History Museum Trading Company.
Additional funding for our scientific research is awarded by Research Councils UK, the European Union, trusts, charities and other grant-awarding bodies.
Our long-term aim is to reduce the Museum’s dependence on grant-in-aid. We are achieving this by maximising revenue from our trading operations and finding new sources of financial support for our scientific research and exhibitions.
Policies and procedures
The Museum operates according to a series of policies and procedures that are regularly reviewed.
- Recruitment and promotion guidelines PDF (109KB)
- Disability equality scheme PDF (579KB)
- Gender equality scheme PDF (92KB)
- Ethics policy PDF (66KB)
- Intellectual property policy PDF (270KB)
- Data protection policy PDF (83KB)
- Personal information promise PDF (1.3MB)
- Procurement policy PDF (38KB)
- Standard conditions for the purchase of goods and services PDF (73KB)
- Health and safety policy PDF (64KB)
- Environmental policy PDF (152KB)
- Energy policy PDF (144KB)
- Peak periods crowd management procedures PDF (69KB)
- Third-party engagement policy PDF (66KB)
- Gifts and hospitality policy PDF (99KB)
- Business expense policy PDF (17KB)
- Benugo (catering provider) environmental policy PDF (43KB)
- Benugo (catering provider) responsible sourcing and ethical trading policy PDF (73KB)
Natural History Museum Trading Company
The Trading Company carries out the Museum’s commercial activities, which include touring exhibitions, brand management and licensing, imaging, catering, retail, events, consultancy and more.
The Trading Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Museum. No loans are given to or taken from the Museum, but there is an intercompany current account - where transactions between the two organisations are booked - that is regularly settled.
The Trading Company's Board is composed of three Trustees - the Museum Director, the Director of Public Engagement and the Director of Finance.
Trading Company Board meeting minutes:
- Minutes of the board meeting 17/06/2014 PDF (25KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting 12/03/2014 PDF (22KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting 27/06/2013 PDF (23KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting 19/03/2013 PDF (22KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting 26/03/2012 PDF (24KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting 23/06/2011 PDF (25KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting 23/03/2011 PDF (23KB)
- Minutes of the board meeting 1/07/2010 PDF (26KB)
Freedom of information (FOI)
The Freedom of Information Act gives any person the right to request information held by public authorities including the Museum.
Information that the Museum and the Trading Company proactively make available falls into seven categories under the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office model publication scheme:
- Who we are and what we do
- What we spend and how
- Our priorities
- How we make decisions
- Our policies and procedures
- Lists and registers
- Services we offer
Find out more about the Trading Company.
How to make an FOI request
Requests must be made in writing, either by email to email@example.com or by letter to the Information Compliance Officer at the following address:
Information Compliance Officer
Natural History Museum
London SW7 5BD
The Museum has a duty to inform the applicant whether the information is held, and supply it within 20 working days, if possible in the format requested.
Re-use of Museum information
If you wish to re-use the information for any purpose other than private study, non-commercial research or news reporting, you need to submit a request for re-use stating the intended purpose. This can be included in your FOI request, to be processed simultaneously; if you submit it later, the Museum may take up to another 20 working days to respond.
Exemption from disclosure
Information may be exempt from disclosure if it would affect or compromise:
- an individual’s right under the Data Protection Act
- the health, safety and/or security of Museum staff and visitors
- the Museum’s commercial confidentiality
- the protection of the environment under the Environmental Information Regulations
Generally no charge is made for responding to FOI requests. If the work required to deal with a request will take more than 18 hours, the Museum is not obliged to respond. Alternatively, a fee of £25 per hour may be charged once this limit is reached. However, the applicant will be informed if this 18 hour limit is going to be exceeded, and will be given the opportunity to revise the request in order to bring it within the time frame.
If you are not satisfied by the reply to your request for information, you are entitled to appeal. The first step is to seek an internal review of the Museum’s handling of your request. Please submit your application for a review in writing to the Information Compliance Officer at the address above. The review will be undertaken by a senior member of staff who was not involved in the initial response to your request.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the conduct of the Museum’s internal review, you may seek an independent review from the Information Commissioner. Report your concern via the ICO website at https://ico.org.uk/concerns or call their helpline on 0303 123 1113.
Re-use of our information
The Museum complies with the Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI) Regulations 2015 and we encourage the re-use of the information that we produce, hold and disseminate.
We are open and transparent, and treat all applications to re-use in a fair and non-discriminatory way.
Our Public Task statement and Asset List contains:
- main categories of information that can be re-used
- what re-use conditions/licences apply
- where to find information on charges
- how to submit a re-use request
- how to make a complaint if you are not satisfied
Download the Museum's Public Task statement and Asset List PDF (218KB) (including licence terms).
We have some exclusive arrangements in relation to the following activities:
- Book publishing
- Image licensing in select countries
For further information, please contact us.