Natural history museums are changing, both because of their own internal development and in response to changes in context. Historically, the aim of collecting from nature was to develop encyclopedic assemblages to satisfy human curiosity and build a basis for taxonomic information. Today, with global biodiversity in rapid decline, there are new reasons to build and maintain collections, while audiences are more diverse, numerous, and technically savvy. Institutions must learn to embrace new technology while retaining the authenticity of their stories and the value placed on their objects.

The Future of Natural History Museums begins to develop a cohesive discourse that balances the disparate issues that our institutions will face over the next decades. It disassembles the topic into various key elements and, through commentary and synthesis, explores a cohesive picture of the trajectory of the natural history museum sector.

This book contributes to the study of collections, teaching and learning, ethics, and running non-profit businesses and will be of interest to museum and heritage professionals and academics and senior students in Biological Sciences and Museum Studies.




chapter |9 pages


ByEric Dorfman

part 1|90 pages

Collecting and preserving in a changing world

chapter 1|16 pages

The future of natural history collections

ByChristopher A. Norris

chapter 2|20 pages

A holistic ethos for nature-focused museums in the Anthropocene

ByEmlyn Koster, Eric Dorfman, Terry Simioti Nyambe

chapter 3|16 pages

Natural history museum security

ByHanna Pennock

chapter 4|17 pages

The future of research in natural history museums

ByFrank Howarth

chapter 5|19 pages

The essential role of museums in biodiversity conservation

ByFelicity Arengo, Ana L. Porzecanski, Mary E. Blair, George Amato, Christopher Filardi, Eleanor J. Sterling

part 2|54 pages

The future of natural history museum visitor experiences

chapter 6|18 pages

Imagining the future of natural history museum exhibitions

ByKara Blond

chapter 7|21 pages

Teaching in natural history museums

ByColette Dufresne-Tassé, Pierre Pénicaud

chapter 8|15 pages

The Natural Futures Museum

Interactivity and participation as key instruments for engaging audiences
ByChristopher J. Garthe

part 3|60 pages


chapter 9|13 pages

Natural history museums, zoos, and aquariums

ByGerald Dick

chapter 10|16 pages

The evolution of natural history museums and science centers

From cabinets to museums to...
ByAnna Omedes, Ernesto Páramo

chapter 11|16 pages

National and international legislation

ByLynda Knowles

chapter 12|15 pages

Natural history museums as enterprises of the future

ByEric Dorfman

part 4|28 pages

Commentary and synthesis

chapter 13|14 pages

The future of natural history museums

ByConal McCarthy

chapter 14|14 pages

The future of natural history museums

General discussion
ByEric Dorfman, Isabel Landim, Osamu Kamei