SHNH summer meeting and AGM

in association with the Geological Curators' Group

The King’s Manor, University of York

Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th June 2019

This two day international meeting held in association with the Geological Curators’ Group will examine the role of agents, dealers and commercial enterprises in the history of natural history.

The meeting will be held in the King’s Manor, a complex of medieval buildings in the centre of York. Directions to King’s Manor, University of YorkDownload map.

A great deal has been recorded about those collecting and studying the natural world over the past 400 years. Much less is known about those who helped supply them. Often underplayed and viewed as peripheral and sometimes even shady figures, the endeavours, contributions and motivations of these ‘middle-men and women’ are often overlooked. The boundaries and realities of their everyday activities are frequently blurred and sometimes misunderstood. This meeting aims to shed new light on the lives, work and impact of these often undervalued participants and contributors in the development of collections and research in the natural sciences.

The meeting will explore:

  • The lives and roles of traders and dealers in natural history collecting networks.
  • The contributions of agents, dealers and commercial enterprises to the development of, and understanding in, the natural sciences.
  • The role of sale rooms and auction houses and other types of businesses as part of the culture of collecting.
  • The supply of natural history material of all kinds to private collectors, museums and universities.
  • The historical trade in specimens (living and non-living), around the world.
  • Trade networks and routes, and the ethics of trade over the past 400 years.
  • The role of colonialism, and those involved, in the establishment and contribution to international trade.
  • The environmental and social impact of trade, be it political, economic, cultural, or environmental.


Presentations will take place at the King’s Manor, University of York, on Tuesday 4th June and the morning of Wednesday 5th June. You can view the Abstracts here.

The conference dinner will take place on the evening of Tuesday 4th June.

Posters will be available to view throughout the conference.

The afternoon tour on Wednesday 5th June will be behind-the-scenes of the Yorkshire Museum store, approximately 20 minutes from the city centre by public transport. Alternatively, delegates can visit the displays at the Yorkshire Museum or other cultural attractions or venues in the city centre.

Provisional programme is available to view here.


Instructions for registration will be announced shortly.

Participants are encouraged to book their own accommodation. Some options are listed below.

Any questions or queries, please contact SHNH Meetings Secretary Jo Hatton (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Accommodation in York

There is a wide variety of accommodation available in York. Most city centre accommodation is within a 20 minute walk of the meeting venue. Please note: York is a busy city, particularly in the summer. We therefore recommend that you reserve your accommodation as soon as possible.

Drivers should remember to check the availability of parking as this can be in short supply.