On this page you will find resources to help you explore and make use of natural history collections in North West museums. Each museum will have its own ways of supporting people (whether individually, in groups, for schools teaching, or for teaching students), so see the Museums page for further details on individual museums.

7 Million Wonders

Advocacy document articulating the value of natural history collections. The case is made that there has never been better evidence of the value of contact with nature to people. Also, nature is in decline. People need nature and nature needs people. Natural history collections help connect people with nature, for mutual benefit. 

Advocacy Toolkit 1- General notes on advocacy

These notes explain what advocacy is, and how you can plan your communications to help you achieve results. They have been written with museum workers in mind, but have wider applicability.

Advocacy Toolkit 2- Effective Nature Messages

These notes give information on messages that are known to effectively connect people with nature. 

Advocacy Toolkit 3- Influencing decision makers

If you have to prepare reports or key pieces of information for senior managers or decision makers, these notes should be of help to you.

Advocacy Toolkit 4- Using taxidermy to support the National Curriculum for English, History, Art and Design

These notes give ideas on how you can use taxidermy displays and specimens in museums to support the teaching of the National Curriculum at Key Stages 1-4. They should be useful for teachers, museum workers, parents and students.

Advocacy Toolkit 5- Using taxidermy to support the National Curriculum for Science

These notes give suggestions for activities based on taxidermy displays and specimens  in museums to support the teaching of the National Curriculum for Science at Key Stages 1-4. They should be useful for teachers, museum workers, parents and students.

Advocacy Toolkit 6- Using natural history collections to support the National Curriculum for Geography

These notes give suggestions on how to make use of natural history collections and displays in museums to teach the new National Curriculum for Geography, aimed at Key Stages 1-4. They should be useful to teachers, museum workers, students and parents.

Advocacy Toolkit 7- Strategic planning for natural history museums

These notes explore how to identify the most important challenges to museums, how to identify strengths and weaknesses, and make decisions that will help you most.

Article- 'Children in the Outdoors: a literature review' Munoz 2009

"This literature review examines existing research on health and the outdoors – highlighting the key ways in which researchers have, thus far, examined the links and reported causality and effects. Children have been identified as one of the key social groups that could gain health benefits from use of the outdoors – but also one that requires evidence-based policy directed towards their needs."

Article- Bradley et al. 2014 Assessing the Value of Natural History Collections

Abstract (part): Recent studies have provided baseline information pertaining to the monetary costs associated with collecting scientific specimens and curating and caring for those specimens after they have been accessioned into a natural history collection. Here, we provide a synopsis of the primary benefits that natural history collections provide to science and society. Furthermore, given that financial support is crucial for long-term growth and care, we present several ideas that should be considered by curators and users of systematic collections.

Article- Evaluating the conservation mission of zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and natural history museums

Conservation Biology 18(1): 86-93. This papers suggests 8 questions for these types of organisation to evaluate actions towards nature conservation.

Article- Learning for a change: exploring the relationship between education and sustainable development

Article- McKinley et al. 2012. When science is not enough

Sets out a schema for traditional, citizen and participatory science that can be used to plan public involvement in research projects.

Article- Wals et al. 2014. Convergence between science education and environmental education

Explores how citizen science and other types of programme that can be associated with natural history museums can bridge the gap between science education (typically information focussed) and environmental eduction (typically resource, behaviour and values focussed)

BRAGG, R., ATKINS, G. 2016. A review of nature-based interventions for mental health care. Natural England Commissioned Reports, Number 204.

Reviews UK projects that address mental health care through nature-based interventions. 

Children and nature- Every Child Outdoors (RSPB report)

Children and nature- Natural Childhood (National Trust report)

Children and nature- Nature and the Life Course: Pathways from Childhood Nature Experiences to Adult Environmentalism

This paper examines connections between childhood involvement with the natural environment and adult environmentalism from a life course perspective. Approximately 2,000 adults age 18-90 living in urban areas throughout the United States were interviewed with respect to their childhood nature experiences and their current, adult attitudes and behaviors relating to the environment.  


Children and nature- RSPB Connecting with nature

Citizen Science- 'Choosing and Using Citizen Science' Pocock et al. 2014

"Here we aim to provide guidance to support people considering using a citizen science approach, especially (but not necessarily restricted to) monitoring biodiversity and

the environment in the UK. It will help you decide whether citizen science is likely to be useful, and it will help you decide which broad approach to citizen science is most suitable for your question or activity."


Citizen Science- 'Guide to Citizen Science' Tweddle et al. 2012

"This guide aims to support people already involved in citizen science, and those new

to it, within the UK... It will help you to design and implement a citizen science project relating to biodiversity or the environment."


Citizen Science- 'Strategic Framework to Support the Implementation of Citizen Science for Environmental Monitoring' Pocock et al. 2014

"In this report we provide a decision framework that can be used to guide whether and when to use a citizen science approach for environmental monitoring. Before using the decision framework we recommend that five precursors to a citizen science approach are considered."

Citizen Science- 'Understanding Citizen Science and Environmental Monitoring' Roy et al.

This report gives an overview of knowledge on the motivations of volunteers, of existing citizen science projects, information on end-users and reviews of technology.

Communicating biodiversity- Branding Biodiversity (Futerra)

Guidelines: Action for Climate Empowerment

Action for Climate Empowerment was launched by the NUFCCC IN 2017.

Guidelines: Education to support the Sustainable Development Goals

This report was issued by UNESCO in 2017.

ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums

NECR211 edition 1 - Is it nice outside? - Consulting people living with dementia and their carers about engaging with the natural environment

Policy- Biodiversity 2020- the strategic plan for England's nature

Policy- Draft Nature and Wellbeing Act 2014- RSPB and Wildlife Trusts

Policy- Draft Nature and Wellbeing Act summary 2014- RSPB and Wildlife Trusts

Policy- Government White Paper on the environment 2011- A Natural Choice

Report- 'England's Countryside: what are the opportunities' Visit England 2013

"This report seeks to assist rural tourism businesses and destinations to identify and exploit opportunities to grow their businesses and markets." It provides detailed information on who uses the countryside and how often.

Report- 'Health and Natural Environments- evidence-based info pack' Natural England 2012

"Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England, builds on Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. It outlines the Governments’ commitment to protecting our population from serious health threats and adopts the life course framework for tackling the wider social determinants of health. The environment (natural and built) is explicitly recognised as a determinant of health."

Report- 'Value of green space for people's health and wellbeing'- lit review

Report- Is it real? Learning in natural history museum settings. Kimble 2011

Report- Making space for nature- Sir John Lawton presentation 2013

Report- UK biodiversity indicators results 2012

Reviewing collections- 1. Introduction to Significance 2.0 collections review methodology

The Significance 2.0 review methodology helps to evaluate and articulate museum collections' cultural and scientific significance, current and prospective use, and collections care. It is an excellent methodology for identifying the significance of museum collections, understanding use and barriers to use, and objectively prioritising restorage of collections. The scheme formed the basis of collections reviews of a number of North West museums in 2014-15.

Reviewing collections- 2. Template for North West reviews 2014

Template based on Significance 2.0 framework. Template allows museum staff to complete as much as they can themselves, and then evaluate the Significance level in discussion with Manchester Museum staff, for consistency. 

Reviewing collections- 3. Significance 2.0 Significance Grid

This grid was developed as part of the Significance 2.0 review scheme. It allows museums to establish whether their collections are locally, regionally or nationally/internationally significant, in terms of uniqueness, historical, cultural and scientific value. 

Reviewing collections- 4. Significance 2.0 Usage grid

This grid was developed as part of the Significance 2.0 collections review methodology, to identify current and potential uses of museum collections.

Reviewing collections- 5. Significance 2.0 Collections management grid

This grid was established as part of the Significance 2.0 collections review methodology. It helps to identify how well particular collections are being stored, and to identify priorities for restorage and reorganisation.

Reviewing collections- A guide to selecting a review methodology for collections rationalisation, H Lomas 2014

"The aim of this guide is to support museumsin considering and selecting appropriate methodologies to guide the rationalisation of their collections. It identifies the main issues for museums to consider and provides information about tools and resources available to support the rationalisation procedure."

Reviewing collections- article on categorising objects and specimens

"The Canadian Museum of Nature has defined five Categories of Specimens to

be used as an aid in collection management. Levels reflect object value based on scientific,

cultural, and monetary considerations and thus clarify the museum's intellectual and monetary

investment in collections. Categories have multiple applications in collection management:

as indicators of value they can assist in controlling specimen use; in conjunction with

risk assessment they can guide allocation of limited resources."

Reviews of regional collections- 'The Collected Collections' (1998)

This report was prepared in 1998 by the North West Federation. It gives details of the collections in North West museums. 

Survey- 'Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment' background

"MENE uses an in-house survey where respondents are asked about visits to the natural environment taken in the seven days prior to the survey, as well as a series of other related questions including visit duration, activities undertaken, reasons for visiting, and expenditure incurred."


Survey- 'Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment' Natural England 2013

"MENE is a weekly survey of the English adult population that captures data on use and enjoyment of the outdoors. The survey is now in its fourth year since it started in March 2009." This accessible infographic give summarised findings.

Survey- DEFRA study of public activities and attitudes to the environment 2008

"The ultimate aim [of this report] is to protect and improve the environment by increasing the contribution from individual and community action. This will come in particular from moving towards more sustainable patterns of consumption, covering the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services."

Survey- Green Fix- attitudes to Manchester's nature and wildlife

Survey- Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) 2013-14 annual report

This is the annual report of the MENE survey, official statistics relating to people's engagement with the environment in the UK.

Survey- Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) 2013-14 one page summary

This infographic presents an overview of the results of the MENE survey, the official monitor of people's engagement with the environment in the UK.

Survey- You Gov/ Woodland Trust survey of knowledge of trees 2013

Treasures at Kendal Museum

Kendal Museum has some of the finest collections of their kind, including both natural and cultural heritage. This guide explores the history and highlights of this amazing collection.