31st March, 2016

Donna Young, at World Museum Liverpool

I have always been fascinated by the natural world, and intrigued by how scientists and artists capture, record and interpret the environment around them.

I began working at National Museums Liverpool in the paper conservation department, becoming a curator later in 1995. One the major collections I have worked on is the historic Royle collection - comprised of many thousands of specimens from the Himalayas. It had been neglected for many years and was in a very poor condition.

The museum embarked on a project to remount the collection – aiming to combine the principles of caring for paper artefacts with working botanical practice. It marked the beginning of my fascination for methods employed in the preparation and preservation of collections. I am interested in how this sits with them being used as accessible, workable tools in the study of botany.

The Royle collection has now been databased. One of the projects I am currently working on, is the imaging of its type specimens, using an inverted scanner (on loan from the NHM). We plan to share this data via our website and link in with other collections worldwide.