Research and its Impact

UNIVERSITY MUSEUMS HOLD EXCEPTIONAL COLLECTIONS and are international centres of collections-focused scholarship; University Museum staff are frequently recognised experts in their own field. Many museums hold collections of ‘types’, specimens that are the very definition of taxonomic and scientific names, and which play a fundamental role in understanding biodiversity: research which simply could not take place without extensive and well-documented collections. Furthermore, museum collections offer a vital historical dimension to research, for example in documenting climate change or the development of ideas. Museums continue to collect, and to experiment with novel approaches to collecting; they foster partnerships with source communities, professional bodies, citizen science groups and lifelong learners. Increasingly collections are held in digital as well as physical form, and are accessed internationally online as well as through more traditional means such as loans, research visits and public exhibitions. As dynamic research centres, University Museums enable the next generation of collection-focused researchers to develop practical skills in object-based research.

University Museums are well placed and well equipped to respond to the increasing expectation that universities and researchers will promote and extend the impact of their research. Exhibitions, events, debates and wider public programmes are extremely effective at engaging public audiences with collections-based research, while museum staff are skilled in communicating with non-specialist audiences, in evaluating engagement and demonstrating impact, and can work with their academic colleagues to develop and share good practice.

Substantial research impact through public engagement

GB3D Type Fossils Online

Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge and the Manchester Museum are currently collaborating with the British Geological Survey, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and JISC on GB3D Type Fossils Online, a database of high-resolution photographs, stereo anaglyphs and 3D models of around 25,000 British type ... more »

Glasgow School of Art – AWAKEN

Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections Centre recently collaborated with the Fashion and Textiles Department and Centre for Advanced Textiles on the AWAKEN project, examining the conceptual possibilities of reinterpreting archive material for contemporary and future textile-related contexts. Staff from GSA’s Department of Textiles used items from the School’s archives and collections as a ... more »
Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading

Museum of English Rural Life

The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) at the University of Reading offers a range of creative opportunities to partner and support high quality impact activities and research that exploit its outstanding collections, including new pathways to doctoral research. Through the collections, these connect to a broad spectrum of disciplines including agriculture, design, anthropology, material ... more »