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ICOM Natural History Conference

Conference 2015 call for papers, National Taiwan Museum, Taipei

This year, we are doing things slightly differently from previous meetings. There are now two formats for your presentation.

Presentations: If you would like to give a spoken presentation, it must be on one of the themes below. Please indicate which session (see below) is appropriate to your talk.

Posters: This year, we are going to have an evening poster session, combined with a party an dinner. This is a chance for you to present your work in a relaxed atmosphere and discuss it in depth with colleagues. Any topic is acceptable. You can keep with the theme or consider general topics.

Submission: Please download and fill out this form: ICOM NATHIST Abstract Submission 2015 and submit the completed form to Hsu-wen Yuan [email protected].



SESSION ONE: Building Partnerships

This session will follow on from the keynote speech by Gerald Dick, Executive Director of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Natural history museums are natural allies not only with zoos and aquariums, but botanic gardens, universities, schools and government agencies. This session is the chance to explore those partnerships with presentations on:

  • Joint ventures
  • Learning from strategic partnerships – what worked and what didn’t
  • Outcomes for wildlife conservation, audience engagement, lifelong learning, etc.

SESSION TWO: Building Audiences

The audiences of natural history museums are becoming more diverse, more technically savvy, more numerous and more demanding. To remain successful, institutions must understand who their audiences are (both real and virtual visitors), as well as how to engage them effectively. The must be able to embrace new technology while retaining the authenticity of their stories and the value placed on their objects. This session is for papers that balance these elements while

  • Exhibitions that achieve unexpected results (successes or challenges)
  • Methods to understand audiences better
  • Online exhibitions and/or new technology
  • Clever use of social media

SESSION THREE: Practical workshop I

In this workshop, delegates will work to identify the most important challenges faced by their institutions, with a ten to twenty year horizon, working through a prioritisation exercise. The highest priority issues will be worked through in the next session.

SESSION FOUR: Building Collections

Collections are the building blocks of natural history museums. Historically, the aim of collecting from nature was typically to develop encyclopaedic assemblages, satisfying humanity’s curiosity and the quest for basic taxonomic information. Today, however, with much of the world’s flora and fauna in unprecedented decline, building and maintaining natural history collections offers new challenges and opportunities. Papers in this session could address:

  • The relationship between collecting and conserving biodiversity
  • The future of taxidermy and dioramas
  • Collection-based research

SESSION FIVE: Building Capacity

For natural history museums to remain viable, it is important to maintain the capability of museum staff and to train the next generation young people to carry on the work into the future. Meanwhile, young people are gaining skills knowledge in digital technology from their earliest ages, entering the workforce with a comfort and facility that can offer something new to previous generations. This session is about that two-way knowledge sharing, providing unprecedented opportunities to build best practice. Talks in this session could cover:

  • Training programmes for staff within institutions
  • Tertiary museum studies programmes
  • Programmes to build public capacity (e.g. citizen science)

SESSION SIX: Practical Workshop II

In this final session of the conference, workshop participants will put their heads together to come up with specific ideas to address specific challenges identified the previous day. These best practice solutions will be worked up into a downloadable resource on the ICOM NATHIST website.

Further information and registration here