Diversity and inclusion at the Museum

Museums are places for society to come together, reflect and learn. But they can only be so if they are inclusive of the society within which they sit. We have a lot of work to do to reach this goal.

We want to be welcoming and inclusive in all we do so that we reach the widest possible audience. We’re taking action to diversify our workforce and visitor base. At the same time, we're becoming more conscious in the way we understand and talk about the collection.

The founding of the Natural History Museum and its collection are intimately connected to Britain's colonial past. In holding collections that represent multiple ways of understanding the world and speaking to the past we must avoid presenting narrow, exclusionary visions of our history.

The Museum's wildlife garden

We are working to make the Museum buildings, collections, grounds, website, science events and experiences as inclusive and welcoming as possible.


Our commitments

We are creating a more diverse workforce across all levels of the organisation. We strive to be a workplace where everyone feels included and valued.

We want to encourage more people to consider careers in museums and science. Especially those underrepresented in our workforce.

We are strengthening our recruitment processes to ensure that we:

  • reach groups of people underrepresented in our workforce
  • ensure the fair treatment of all who apply to work at the museum
  • make all new staff members feel supported and welcome
  • enable staff to develop their careers with us and reach their potential

We're committed to supporting the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Action group (IDEA) to evolve and be a strong voice for all members of the workforce. 

IDEA is a workforce-led forum set up to:

  • be a space for colleagues who share an interest in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
  • provide support to our staff networks: Diverse Ethnicities, Woman's, LGBTQIA+, Access, Parents and Carers
  • broker communication between leadership and workforce to drive change on EDI issues
  • generate ideas and actions to nurture EDI

What we have achieved so far

Organisational culture and workforce

  • Launched our new strategy with diversity with as one of our four critical values. We're on the journey to achieving greater diversity in our workforce. We're tackling bias and taking action to stop unacceptable behaviour. 
  • Taking action to close the Gender Pay Gap and voluntarily published our Ethnicity Pay Gap. Access our pay gap reports.
  • Ran a staff survey specifically focused on workforce diversity and inclusion, to establish baselines and identify areas to target for improvement
  • Established the Explorers Programme. This initiative encourages and supports people from Black, Asian, Arab and other racially marginalised communities to pursue careers in earth, environmental and ecological sciences
  • Worked hard on improving internal progressions and development - we filled 50% of vacancies internally this year. We launched a Talent Pool to invest in internal talent over freelancers, where possible.
  • Updated and expanded our staff policies to make the museum a more inclusive employer, including for parents and carers
  • Regular internal and external activities to mark awareness days and highlight our commitment to EDI
  • Providing enhanced training on all aspects of EDI for all staff

Our public offer

  • Launching the Urban Nature Project to engage with audiences who may not previously have felt the Natural History Museum is for them.
  • Embedding an inclusive design approach to all exhibitions and digital products. We test our designs with people with a range of disabilities to make sure we're accessible.
  • Delivering tours and content focused on the contributions of Indigenous and Black people, women and the LGBTQIA+ community to the world of science and natural history
  • Delivering Dawnosaurs, our popular on-site and online programme for neurodiverse children and young people
  • Working to principles to help us understand and share the Museum’s collection  
  • Ensuring our website is as accessible as possible, and we will continue to improve it further. For more information, read our website accessibility statement. 
  • Last updated 26 May 2023.

Slavery and the natural world

Explore research into how the Museum's history and collections are connected to the transatlantic slave trade.