People and Plants
18 February 2019
Launch of the exhibition ‘People and Plants’ in the Insight Gallery, National Museum Cardiff and accompanying public report ‘Sharing Stories, Sharing Collections.’
The exhibition and report are outcomes of a collaborative placement between the Sustainable Places Research Institute and Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales funded by the National Environment Research Council Valuing Nature Programme.
Bio-cultural collections have a crucial societal role of developing understanding and valuing of biodiversity through raising public awareness of the importance of plants in supporting livelihoods, supporting health and well-being, maintaining ecosystem services and adapting to global environmental change. During the placement, Dr. Poppy Nicol worked with Principal Curator Dr. Heather Pardoe and other members of the Amgueddfa Cymru. botany team to investigate the Museum’s economic botany collection and its potential role in supporting valuing and understanding of biodiversity amongst the public.
The Amgueddfa Cymru economic botany collection includes over 5,500 specimens of medicinal plants, food products, fibres, seeds, gums, dyes and resins, most of which were acquired between the nineteenth century and present day. Drawing upon the findings of the placement, the exhibition offers insight into the collection and the important role of plants in society.
The ‘People and Plants’exhibition highlights the role of plants in supporting the health and well-being of past, present and future generation sand emphasises the importance of safeguarding biodiversity – of both wild and cultivated crops and wild species.
The report ‘Sharing Stories, Sharing Collections’ highlights how bio-cultural collections have the potential to support public understanding and valuing of biodiversity. It suggests recent legislation in the form of the Well Being of Future Generations Act (Wales) (2015) presents opportunity for Amgueddfa Cymru to become a global innovator in terms of curating bio-cultural collections.
Dr Poppy Nicol said “The study identified a clear interest in the AC-NMW economic botany collection amongst the public and we identified a number of opportunities for innovation in bio-cultural and economic botany collections including research-driven curation; inter-generational learning programmes; and, innovative and participatory approaches to digitisation. Inter-disciplinary collaboration with other centres of learning particularly present great opportunities to share and enhance the value of the collection”
The report is launched at National Museum Cardiff on the 19th February while the exhibition people and Plants can be viewed in the Museums insight gallery from the 6th February to the 16th March.