CPS supports The Cambridge University Herbarium videos for the Cambridge Festival 2024

Videos highlight the work of the Cambridge University Herbarium

The Cambridge University Herbarium is presenting three new videos, produced with the support of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. The short videos, released as part of the 2024 Cambridge Festival, aim to showcase the collections and activities of the Herbarium to a general audience. Featuring the beautiful and unique collections housed in the Herbarium and the Cory and Herbarium Libraries, each video was designed to answer a question: “What is a Herbarium?”, “How are herbarium specimens made?”, and “How do plants get their scientific names?”.

The Cambridge University Herbarium (CGE) is part of the Department of Plant Sciences. Founded in the 1760s through the bequest of a few thousand specimens by John Martyn, second Professor of Botany, the University Herbarium was significantly used and expended by John Stevens Henslow, fourth Professor of Botany and co-founder of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, then by successive Professors and Curators. Containing an estimated 1.1 million dried specimens of plants and fungi collected worldwide over the course of three centuries, and with considerable collections from the British Isles and the Cambridgeshire area, CGE represents an invaluable archive of plant diversity through space and time. It was extensively used by taxonomists to write the Flora Europaea and the Flora of Great Britain and Ireland, and continues to facilitate research and education in the fields of Natural Sciences and Humanities. In recognition of the outstanding scientific and historical value of its collections, CGE was awarded designated status by the Arts Council in 2022. In recent years, to improve the accessibility of the data held in its collections, CGE has started digitising its specimens and is currently exploring new approaches, combining citizen science and artificial intelligence, to transcribe the information attached to them. More information on these projects will soon be available on the Herbarium website: herbarium.plantsci.cam.ac.uk

The videos are available on the Herbarium YouTube channel: youtube.com/@CUHerb.

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