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Press release

Celebrating a Naturally Diverse World

Diverse City Season, October-December 2005

African drumming, Asian dancing and music from the Caribbean are just some of the free fun events included in the Natural History Museum's Diverse City Season. Running from the beginning of October through to December, Diverse City Season is a programme of events, suitable for all ages, celebrating cultural diversity. 

Diverse City Season kicks off with Black History Month in October. From exploring the botany of Brixton Market to creating your own rap song, visitors can celebrate African, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-American culture with a variety of workshops, demonstrations and family activities.

'So many different people already enjoy visiting the Museum,' said Saira MacNicol, Head of New Audiences at the Natural History Museum. 'We are hoping that all the Museum's visitors will get involved in celebrating the importance of cultural diversity with this fantastic programme of events.'

Diverse City Season is the first programme of events developed by the Museum's New Audiences Team, which aims to break down perceived barriers for new audiences to visit the Museum. Working with community, youth and women's groups, the New Audiences team organises events and discrete projects that make the Museum's collections and science accessible to all.

The New Audiences Team has been working on two discrete projects for Diverse City Season.  A local family has participated in the Community trails project. By choosing their own theme of 'Beautiful Things' they have planned their own route of highlights around the Natural History Museum.  With the help of Museum photographers and the local City Learning Centre they have designed their trail, which will be launched and available during Diverse City Season.

The other project is with a group of young people from a range of ethnic minority backgrounds who were asked to sketch a part of the collection that embraced their understanding of 'black history'. Their sketches were then transferred to a textile banner. At the end of the year, Ray Mahabir, a West Indian textile artist leading the project, will take the banner to a village in India where local female artisans will embroider the young people's designs onto the banners. The completed banner will then form part of a showcase exhibition, which the young people and their friends and families will be invited to view in April 2006. 

Some Diverse City Season events highlight the importance of international collaboration. Scientists from around the world are working together to improve understanding and awareness of treatments for medical conditions such as malaria, schistosomiasis and intestinal worms. Natural History Museum scientists undertaking research in these areas will be sharing their experiences with Museum visitors in the Darwin Centre.

Ends

Notes for editors
Winner of the 2004 Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award, the Natural History Museum is also a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with groundbreaking projects in 68 countries. The Museum is committed to encouraging public engagement with science. This has been greatly enhanced by the Darwin Centre, a major new initiative, which offers visitors unique access behind the scenes of the Museum. Phase One of the project opened to the public in 2002 and Phase Two is scheduled to open in 2008.

Visitor information
Admission: the Museum is free, as are all events in the Diverse City Season programme
Venue: the Natural History Museum
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00-17.50, Sunday 11.00-17.50
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000 Monday-Friday, 020 7942 5011 Saturday and Sunday
Website: www.nhm.ac.uk