HOPE for the Future – Heritage, Outreach and Preservation of Entomology

Our ambitious HOPE for the Future project focuses on the intertwined heritage of our British Insect Collection and Westwood Room – originally called ‘Mr Hope’s Museum’ after Frederick William Hope, a founding collector of this Museum in the 1840s. Hope’s museum within a museum became a favourite meeting place for naturalists: Charles Darwin called Hope ‘my father in entomology’.

The British Insect Collection contains over one million specimens representing all insect groups from butterflies, beetles and bees to flies to fleas and is ‘Designated’ by Arts Council England as being of national and international importance.

The Collection spans almost the entire history of British entomology, representing extensive information on the biodiversity of Britain, documenting how it has changed during and after the Industrial Revolution. It offers an extraordinary window into the natural world with dozens of iconic species now considered extinct in the UK, including the large copper butterfly, blue stag beetle and many examples of the first British capture of insect species, some unique.

As public awareness of the climate and biodiversity crisis increases, such museum collections are vital in understanding the extent of species loss and ecology damage.

Through investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and with thanks to National Lottery players we can preserve 200 years of natural heritage to be shared now and with future generations.

By the end of 2022 we will:

  • Rehouse and document over one million British insects with volunteers and new apprentices 
  • Design and deliver a wide reaching learning and community programme at the Museum and beyond, developing skills and inspiring lifelong interest in the natural environment and conservation
  • Restore and make accessible our historic Pre-Raphaelite-designed Westwood Room, creating new multi-purpose public spaces with displays looking at biodiversity, habitat loss, and the value of museum collections in documenting these changes and their impacts. 
     
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Events 2020

See our list of HOPE programming. Use our event date filter to find upcoming events and/or browse past events realted to this project. 

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