History Day 2021

History Day 2021

History Day 2021 took place on Thursday, 4 November, with an environmental history theme. We explored collections that capture the experiences of ordinary people, collectors and scientists, looking at nature, landscape, climate change and much more.


Discover collections

Libraries, museums, archives and history organisations from across the UK and beyond came together online to share collections and resources. Contributions can be explored via the Discover collections archive page. You can view recordings of the sessions below.


Collecting Nature and the Nature of Collecting


What can collecting nature tell us about how we have understood our natural and environmental histories? The panel session will examine how new perspectives on environmental history have made us rethink the history of collecting, what is being collected now and who it is being collected for. We will reflect on current collecting practices and ethics in libraries, archives and museums and ideas and practices around decolonising museum collections and responding to the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

The session will be chaired by Sophie Page, Professor of Medieval History at UCL and a convenor of the Anthropocene Histories seminar at the Institute of Historical Research.


  • Kat Harrington, Assistant Archivist, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
  • Abby Hoverstock, Senior Archivist, Denver Public Library Conservation Collection
  • Miranda Lowe, Principal Curator (Crustacea & Cnidaria), The Natural History Museum
  • Dolly Jørgensen, Professor of History, University of Stavanger

At lunchtime streamed contributions from libraries, archives and collections from across the UK on the theme of environmental history.

Collecting nature memories: an interactive workshop


Organised in conjunction with the Centre for the History of PeoplePlace and Community 

This session will explore how our histories and memories are shaped by our natural environment and how they can help us find new approaches to natural history. We will explore how we make and collect memories from nature and how they are reflected in the historical collections of institutions or individuals.   

Catherine Clarke (Centre for the History of People, Place and Community, IHR) will open the session talking about the Natural History in the Victoria County History and introduce the idea of “nature memories”.

This will be followed by a series of 4 lightning talks sharing “nature memories” from selected history collections and individuals.

The session will then be opened up for the audience to share their own “nature memories” via social media and a crowdsourced Padlet.


  • Rich Yates, Essex Wildlife Trust  
  • Rok Nežič, Armagh Observatory & Planetarium  
  • George Adamson, King’s College London Weather Memories project 
  • Maxwell Ayamba, University of Nottingham, journalist and founder of the Sheffield Environmental Movement