Sloane's Treasures

Project team


British Library     Natural History Museum

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council

An Arts and Humanities Research Council 'Science in Culture Exploratory Award

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Project developments


In 2012, three Workshops were held to bring together academics, librarians, curators and other experts from the arts, humanities and sciences, to discuss the research potential of the collections.

Understanding Sloane’s Natural Objects, Natural History Museum, April 2012

Participants listened to presentations on Sloane’s herbarium, minerals and vegetable substances held at the Museum and toured the Botany and Mineralogy departments to learn about current research being conducted on Sloane at the Museum.

Listen to presentations, tours, discussions 

Understanding Sloane’s Artificial Rarities, British Museum, May 2012

Participants listened to presentations about Sloane’s prints, drawings, Chinese glass, Islamic seals, antiquities, and ethnographic items and in the afternoon continued discussions on the digitisation, research and public engagement opportunities that might arise from the Sloane collection.

Listen to presentations and discussions 

Text and Transcription, British Library, July 2012

Participants listened to a series of presentations on Sloane’s manuscripts, printed books, maps, Chinese material and drawings held at the Library and in the afternoon discussed research opportunities afforded by the Sloane collection in the digital humanities, visualisation of data and crowdsourcing.

Listen to discussions 

Collaborative Doctoral Awards

Under a group Collaborative Doctoral Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Museum, the Centre for Arts and Humanities Research at the Natural History Museum and the British Library have partnered with King’s College London and Queen Mary University London to supervise three postgraduate theses that focus on the collections of Sir Hans Sloane.

Their research projects explore various aspects of Sloane’s collections, seeking to understand how his collecting practices were involved in the making of Enlightenment knowledge. The students are working closely with the partner institutions and each other, in order to draw out the intellectual and material connections between different parts of Sloane’s collections. They will also work on ways to provide access to the collections, leading to innovative forms of public engagement.

Putting nature in a box: Sloane’s vegetable substances

Victoria Pickering
Supervised by Dr Charlie Jarvis, Natural History Museum, and Professor Miles Ogborn, Queen Mary University of London.

Collecting and correspondence: Sloane’s papers and scientific networks

Alice Marples
Supervised by Dr Arnold Hunt, British Library and Dr Anne Goldgar, King’s College London.

Visualizing natural knowledge: Sloane’s albums of natural history drawings

Felicity Roberts
Supervised by Dr Kim Sloan, British Museum, and Dr Elizabeth Eger, King’s College London.