Privacy policy

How we use your information

This privacy policy tells you who we are and what to expect when the Natural History Museum collects personal information. It applies to information we collect about:

  • Visitors to our websites.
  • People who use and support our services.
  • Job applicants and our current and former employees.
  • Your rights to access and correct the information we hold about you.
  • Complaints or queries.
  • How to contact us.

Who we are

The Natural History Museum is the UK's national museum of natural history, and a centre of scientific excellence in taxonomy and biodiversity. It includes The Natural History Museum at Tring. The Museum's mission is to maintain and develop its collections and use them to promote the discovery, understanding, responsible use and enjoyment of the natural world.

The Natural History Museum Trading Company carries out the commercial activities of the Museum: touring exhibitions, brand management and licensing, image resources, functions and banqueting, catering, retailing, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, animatronic model sales and consultancy in science, exhibition development, and health and safety. As a wholly owned subsidiary, the trading company is subject to the Natural History Museum’s policy and procedures.

In this Privacy Policy and in the Data Protection statements which you will see wherever we collect your personal information, “the Natural History Museum” and “we” refers to the Natural History Museum and the trading company.

The Museum established an international foundation in 1990, which in 2010 became the International Friends of the Natural History Museum London. The foundation is run by a board of trustees and is a registered 501(c)3 organisation encouraging tax-deductible gifts under US law.

The Natural History Museum Development Trust was set up in 2012 as a dedicated independent fundraising trust. This mechanism allows significant control over charitable donations, while working alongside the Museum staff and trustees to help secure further substantial donations in the philanthropic and corporate arena, crucial to the success of the Museum’s fundraising ambitions.

The Trustees of the Natural History Museum are the Data Controller, as registered with the Information Commissioner.

Visitors to our websites and how we use cookies

When someone visits www.nhm.ac.uk we collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site, to compile statistical reports on website activity and to personalise our visitors’ experiences of using the site.

Cookies are text files placed on your computer to collect this information. You can set your browser not to accept cookies and remove cookies from your browser. However in a few cases some of our website features may not function as a result. You can read more about how we use cookies and how to disable cookies on our Information about cookies page.

If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be up front about this. We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

This privacy policy does not cover the links within this site linking to external websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.

People who use and support our services

We collect and process the details of customers, visitors, members, service users and enquirers to provide the service, goods or information that they have requested, and to gather feedback.

We collect and process the details of donors to administer donations. Find out more about our Gift Aid scheme.

We may also hold and analyse customers’, visitors’, members’, donors’ and potential donors’ data in order to continue to improve our understanding of our target audiences and of our supporters with a view to providing world class, transformative, visitor-focused experiences, customer service and educational engagement, and to look at ways in which we might in the future use the latest technologies to improve and personalise the services that we offer.

With their consent we may use individuals’ data to contact them from time to time with news and information about the Museum that we feel may be of interest to them, such as research, education and fundraising, and about our other events, products and services. We follow Institute of Fundraising and Information Commissioner best practice guidelines relating to marketing. We will never contact you by email, phone or SMS without your consent and will always seek your consent before sending you any promotional or fundraising communications.  

When people subscribe to our services or give consent to receiving news and information from us, they can cancel their subscription or withdraw their consent to being contacted at any time and are given an easy way of doing this. If you wish to opt out of receiving information from us or to unsubscribe from a service, please send an email to unsubscribe@nhm.ac.uk.

We will not share personal data with third party organisations for marketing purposes, but may occasionally outsource functions when we do not have the in house capacity required, such as the use of a mailing house for mailings, and analytical services that enable us to target our communications with customers and supporters more effectively. We may also need to disclose information if required by legal obligations. In such cases we will only use reputable and well vetted firms and have contracts and processes in place that ensure the safe and confidential processing of personal data at all times, including on the rare occasions that data is transferred outside the EEA.

We may also occasionally share data with other organisations in the Natural History Museum family. Specifically these are the Natural History Development Trust, and The International Friends of the Natural History Museum. These organisations are subject to strict agreements with the Museum that ensure that they meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal data.

Job applicants, volunteers, current and former Museum employees

When individuals apply to work at the Museum, we will only use the information they supply to us to process their application and to monitor recruitment statistics. Where we want to disclose information to a third party, for example where we want to take up a reference or obtain a ‘disclosure’ from the Criminal Records Bureau we will not do so without informing them beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law.

Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for 12 months after the recruitment exercise has been completed. It will then be destroyed or deleted. We retain de-personalised statistical information about applicants to help inform our recruitment activities, but no individuals are identifiable from that data.

Once a person has taken up employment with the Museum, we will compile a file relating to their employment. The information contained in this will be kept secure and will only be used for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment. Once their employment with the Museum has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our retention schedule and then delete it.

Access to personal information and correction

We strive at all times to ensure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove information that you think is inaccurate by contacting the Customer Development Department as detailed below in the How to contact us section.

Under the terms of the Data Protection Act you have the right to request a copy of information that we hold about you. If you would like a copy of some or all of your information you may make a request by writing to our Information Compliance Officer as explained in the How to contact us section below. We may make a small charge (up to ÂŁ10) for this service.

Complaints, enquiries and feedback

The Natural History Museum tries to meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal information. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive about this very seriously. We encourage people to bring it to our attention if they think that our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. We would also welcome any suggestions for improving our procedures.

This privacy policy was drafted with brevity and clarity in mind. It does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of the Natural History Museum’s collection and use of personal information. However, we are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed.

Complaints and enquiries about, or suggestions for improvements to, our data protection processes should be directed to the Information Compliance Officer using the contact details provided below

Changes to this privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review. You are advised to visit this page periodically in order to keep up to date with any changes. This privacy policy was last updated on 21 November 2013.

How to contact us

If you wish to make a complaint, request further explanation of any issues relating to this privacy policy, or make a suggestions for improving our processes relating to the way we use personal data, then please direct your request to the Information Compliance Officer by email at dataprotection@nhm.ac.uk or in writing at the Museum address: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD.

You may opt out from receiving information from us at any time or ask to have your personal data removed or corrected in our records by writing to us at: Customer Development Department, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, or by sending an email to unsubscribe@nhm.ac.uk. Please ensure that you state your full name and address in the letter or email so that we may locate your record on our database.

If you wish to make a Subject Access Request you can do this in several ways: