Miranda Lowe is the Principal Curator in Charge of crustaceans at the Museum and a tireless advocate of diversity. ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

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Principal Curator Miranda Lowe awarded CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list

Taking care of the Museum's crustacean and jellyfish collection for nearly 30 years and being an unwavering champion of diversity in the museum and science sector, Miranda Lowe has now been recognised for her brilliant work by being awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2022.

Miranda Lowe, the Museum's Principal Curator of Crustacea, has been recognised for her work in championing both science and diversity in the sector. 

Having worked at the Museum for the past 30 years, Miranda is an expert in both crustacea and cnidaria. As the Principal Curator in Charge of the crustaceans, she is responsible for the curation and care of everything from crabs and lobsters to coral and jellyfish.

This involves not only making sure that the specimens are looked after properly, but also making the collection accessible to researchers while also conducting her own science.

She is an active member of the Museums Association, the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and the Society for the History of Natural History

But Miranda is also a passionate advocate for engaging everyone with the work she does and improving the equality and diversity of museums and science.  

Miranda Lowe sat in a laboratory, surrounded by jars containing starfish.

Miranda works not only to advance science, but also to lecture and mentor students. ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

She lectures on science and curation, mentors students and conducts outreach in schools. This has involved becoming a STEM ambassador, volunteering for the Aspiring Professionals Programme, a scheme that connects students who lack a professional network to top people in their field.  

She hopes to be able to show to students that despite the persistent notion of science, and the people who conduct it, being cut off and untouchable, that actually they are just normal people and that it is possible for people from any background to get top-level jobs.  

In addition to all of that, she is also the co-founder of Museum Detox, a network for people of colour who work in museums, galleries, libraries, archives and the heritage sector. The volunteer organisation champions fair representation within the cultural sector. 

This desire to improve diversity and representation also comes out through Miranda's work at the Museum, where she has created and led the Museum's first Black history tour, shining the light on overlooked and unrecognised people of colour who have made significant contributions to the natural history.

These have included people like Graman Kwasi, a Surinamese freeman who became a medical professional and Ali Wallace, who was instrumental in Alfred Russel Wallace's expeditions through southeast Asia.

Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Museum, says, 'We are thrilled to see Miranda Lowe recognised with a CBE in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list. Alongside her vital scientific work and research on ocean health, Miranda has worked tirelessly as an ambassador to ensure the industry is engaging and reaching underrepresented audiences. A huge congratulations to Miranda.'

This year Miranda was announced as British Science Association Scientific President representing Biological Sciences. In 2020, Miranda was named in Radio Four Women’s Hour Power List and was also listed in the recently published 100 Great Black Britons, a book honouring the achievements of black British individuals over centuries.