Computer Science and Engineering
 Gothenburg University | Chalmers

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The Global Museum: natural history collections and the future of evolutionary science and public education

F.T. Bakker, A. Antonelli, J.A. Clarke, J.A. Cook, S.V. Edwards, P.G. Ericson, S. Faurby, N. Ferrand, M. Gelang, R.G. Gillespie, M. Irestedt, K. Lundin, E. Larsson, P. Matos-Maraví, J. Müller, T. von Proschwitz, G.K. Roderick, A. Schliep, N. Wahlberg, J. Wiedenhoeft and M. Källersjö

PeerJ 2020, 40.

Natural history museums are unique spaces for interdisciplinary research and ed- ucational innovation. Through extensive exhibits and public programming and by hosting rich communities of amateurs, students, and researchers at all stages of their careers, they can provide a place-based window to focus on integration of science and discovery, as well as a locus for community engagement. At the same time, like a synthesis radio telescope, when joined together through emerging digital resources, the global community of museums (the ‘Global Museum’) is more than the sum of its parts, allowing insights and answers to diverse biological, environmental, and societal questions at the global scale, across eons of time, and spanning vast diversity across the Tree of Life. We argue that, whereas natural history collections and museums began with a focus on describing the diversity and peculiarities of species on Earth, they are now increasingly leveraged in new ways that significantly expand their