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HUANG Hongwen as a Member of the Visiting Group of NHM

From September 11 to 14, Prof. HUANG Hongwen, Director of the South China Botanical Garden was invited by the Board of Trustees of the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Britain to be a member of the Visiting Group to carry out a review of the work of the Department of Botany of NHM. The Visiting Group was composed of 6 noted international experts, and two of them were from Britain, two from USA, and one from Germany apart from Dr. Huang.


The Department of Botany firstly gave a comprehensive report on its work to the Visiting Group; then the Group visited and reviewed the work and activities of the Department, and finally presented recommendations for action to the Board of Trustees. The Visiting Group was asked to review the current activities and future plans of the Department. In particular:

1. to assess the research of the Department and to comment on its international standing and value;

2. to advise on future research priorities for the Department in the context of wider external research effort and opportunities;

3. to comment on the success of the Department in meeting external needs of research collaborators and visitors, of other museums, of consultancy clients and in other sectors;

4.   to judge the relevance of the collections to contemporary and future interests: their range, ongoing development, and standards of care and housing; and

5.    to evaluate the Department’s balance of effort and resources allocated to its various areas of activity.


The NHM is both a major public destination and a world-renowned institution for scientific research. There are six departments in NHM, including Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology, Zoology, and Library and Information Services. Originally, the NHM was a part of the British Museum; later on, it gained separate status with its own Board of Trustees when the British Museum was split under the British Museum Act 1963.


The NHM’s core is a collection of over 70 million natural history specimens, assembled over 400 years to become one of the most important museums in the world. The NHM also houses the world's finest natural history library and the third largest collection of art on paper in the UK. The NHM’s mission is “to maintain and develop its collections and use them to promote the discovery, understanding, responsible use and enjoyment of the natural world”. The NHM regularly undertakes reviews of its scientific departments using the mechanism of a visiting group of international experts.

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