Placement - Sharing Stories, Sharing collections: Valuing Biodiversity in Wales

Research summary

A collaboration between the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE), Cardiff University (CU) and Amgueddfa Cymru–National Museum of Wales (AC-NMW), this placement addresses the Valuing Nature Programme second research goal: improving understanding of the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in human health and well-being. The placement investigates how the Economic Botany Collection at National Museum Cardiff can add value to public understanding of biodiversity and contribute to the AC-NMW well-being duty (Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act (WBFGA), 2015.

The Collection

The AC-NMW’s Economic Botany Collection (EBC) consists of over 3,500 specimens (including medicinal plants, food products, seeds, natural dyes and tannins and other plants) that have beneficial properties for humans.

The Placement

My placement has three objectives: i.) to work closely with the National Museum Cardiff Botany team to investigate the current EBC and devise criteria for assessing its value; ii.) to undertake public consultation of the EBC collection and co-produce a framework for value that links value to stakeholders’ interests or preferences; iii.) to identify how the EBC can strategically build its value in society and fulfill its duty of well-being through acquisition, display and activities, drawing upon co-produced framework.


During this placement I have investigated how the Economic Botany Collection has the potential to value to public understanding of biodiversity and contribute to the Museum’s well-being duty (WBFGA 2015), through public consultation with members of the public in South Wales (including young people, gardeners, ecologists, teachers, artists, craftspeople and chefs). Participants were introduced to the Collection and invited to contribute to the Collections Strategy and an emerging framework of value. I also discussed the Collections Strategy with external stakeholders (including representatives from higher education, public health, community growing, industry and a number of freelance artists).

Drawing upon the findings of the consultations, the placement report highlights a number of ways in which the AC-NMW EBC can be developed (in terms of acquisition, display and associated activities) to improve the role of the Collection in supporting valuing and understanding of biodiversity and well-being.

Along with further integrating the Well Being Future Generations Act Goals into the Collections Strategy, a critical next step for the Collection is digitisation of the EBC and development of a Digital Strategy. There is further opportunity for development of an intergenerational learning programme; exploration of research-led Curation opportunities and collaboration with other public institutions with Economic Botany Collections and Biocultural Collections (including museums botanic gardens and universities). There is also potential for crowdsourcing for development of the online catalogue, particularly via communities of practice and interest.

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