Delivering natural history in the 21st century requires the latest computing capability to support more people learning natural history in north east England. NHSN is enjoying growing membership and support: event bookings are up and greater use is being made of social media and the internet. However, our ageing computer equipment is creaking under these 21st century demands, taking a little longer to wake up each morning and sometimes struggling to make it through the day. A major upgrade was necessary.
We asked our long-time partner Newcastle University for their help and they kindly agreed. NHSN Trustees were keen to invest sufficient funds to modernise computer hardware and software; Newcastle University provided us with the fantastic and patient, Brett. Brett helped us with computer specifications, set up, and moving thousands of digital files between old and new systems. When things got too technical for the NHSN team, Brett would re-enthuse our interest with his childhood memories of visits to the Museum.
Newcastle University’s contribution builds on our successful partnership in delivering the award winning Great North Museum:Hancock owned by the NHSN, leased to Newcastle University and cared for by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums. Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs at Newcastle University said,
“we are keen that the Natural History Society of Northumbria is set up TO MAKE the most of modern day technology, ENABLING IT to engage people of all ages in EXPLORING the natural world”
NHSN was also fortunate in benefitting from IT wizardry by NHSN Member, Adrian Wilson, who transformed our membership database.
NHSN Members and supporters are unlikely to directly notice our major computer upgrade but they will benefit from the improved service it provides to staff, volunteers and trustees. I am also confident that if asked by previous presidents, committee members secretaries or treasures, “how did we celebrate our 188th birthday in 2017” that we could say, “We invested in the future of natural history, not with trilobites but megabytes!”