Lightning Talk
Esther Herberts, The Netherlands , Marianne Fokkens, The Netherlands

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is one of the top 5 Natural History Museums of the world (37 million natural history objects), but is a little old school minded. We have turned conventions on their heads and created a project in an exhibition hall called LiveScience. In this project we put ourselves to the challenge: discover how open we can be.

In the exhibition hall, you can see clockwise:

workstreetA Work street where staff and amateur scientists work together on digitizing the collection and other research activities. Information is given by augmented reality. The public is able to observe the staff ‘live’, up close and personal: the researchers are not behind glass. A mediator brings the hall to life by involving visitors in a theatrical manner.



In Studiolab visitors (families and schoolchildren) are able to attend and become part of a range of programmes, such as live taxidermy sessions, online guest lessons for schools, presentations, lectures, recordings for TV or streaming video and live connections with scientists on expedition and scientists in a working environment off limits for the public.


The exhibits in this hall include crowd source applications on iPads, and animal determine applications.

A digital platform expands the scope of the project. People are able to work online on the collection, amateur scientists can exchange information amongst each other and persons that aren’t able to come to the museum get acquainted with our institute online.


What were the risks in this project? Was our conventional organization prepared for a mind shift like this? Do technologies like augmented reality and the crowdsourcing project have a positive impact? What has been learned and can be shared with other institutes in an open and honest way?