Art and science at the Museum

Isomorphology Etching Leaf Blue, copper etching, 2013, © Gemma Anderson (full series of etchings:

Artists and scientists have been inspired by the natural world for centuries. Images capture nature in ways that complement the words and data of science.

Illustrations and paintings give instantly understandable and memorable pictures that communicate something of their subject’s essential nature.

The Museum's collections contain up to half a million artworks, including extensive collections from eighteenth and nineteenth artists and illustrators.

But contemporary artists are still engaged with the Museum and its 80 million specimens, giving its collections and its ways of working new and unexpected lives.

NHM Art-Science interest group

The Natural History Museum Art-Science interest group is a forum for interesting talks and provocations, aimed at exploring the history and potential for interactions between science and the arts.

We are also keenly interested in documenting the history of such engagement at the Natural History Museum and demonstrating the worth of science and art working together.

Presentations at our meetings (which are held approximately every two months) have also explored ways of expanding our collaborations, getting artists into the museum and working with us.

Although the NHM is primarily a scientific institution, there is much exciting art-science work going on. The NHM ASIG was set up by Gemma Anderson, an artist who has worked extensively with the Museum, Dr Peter Olson, a researcher at the Museum, and Dr Gavin Broad, head of insect collections.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the group, please contact Gavin Broad.

You can find out more about the activities of the group on their NHM blog page.

Working with our collections

Artists interested in using our collections should contact the relevant collections manager or the Registrar.

If you are focussed on UK natural history, the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity provides access to a range of useful research material including comparative material and literature. They can help with access to UK biodiversity reference collections, microscopes and photo-stacking equipment for photographing specimens.

Art-Science Interest Group mailing list

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the Art-Science interest group, please contact Gavin Broad.

Art-Science Interest Group blog

For updates on the latest activities from the Art-Science interest group, please visit their posts on the NHM blog.