Mark Carnall is the curator of the 500,000 specimens held in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. He has previously worked and volunteered at local authority, national and other university natural history museums.

He is currently the Collections Manager (Life Collections) with responsibilities for the vertebrate and invertebrate (non entomological collections) material. In addition to managing collections he lectures on biology, palaeobiology and museological topics. His research interests are digitisation in museums, public engagement and natural history, sector wide advocacy for collections, models, casts and replicas as well as the implications on 3D printing on museum collections.

In addition to collections management, Mark contributes to public engagement from stand up about natural history museums through to lectures, informal talks and workshops to all age groups.


  • BSc (Hons) Palaeobiology and Evolution, University of Portsmouth, 2003
  • MA Museum Studies, University College London, 2004


  • 2003 Volunteer, Waitomo Museum of Caves.
  • 2003-2004 Visitor attendant, Canterbury Tales Visitor Attraction. Volunteer, Natural History Department, Museum of Canterbury
  • 2004-2005 Volunteer, Natural History Museum London and Grant Museum of Zoology
  • 2005 Casual Employment, Natural History Museum London
  • 2005-2006 Entomology Documentation Assistant, Grant Museum of Zoology
  • 2006-2011 Curator, Grant Museum of Zoology
  • 2011-2012 Curator and Acting Manager, Grant Museum of Zoology
  • 2012-2015 Curator, Grant Museum of Zoology
  • 2015-Current Collections Manager (Life Collections), Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Conference Presentations

  • 2017 Hannah Allum and Mark Carnall. So you want to move your collections? Geological Curators Group conference in Dublin.
  • 2017 Not real, not worth it? Unlocking the Vault: Making the most of scientific collections. Manchester University.
  • 2016 Museum Specimens. Presentation for Tiger Cultures Research Day.
  • 2016 A Year In the Zoology Collections. Oxford University GLAM Staff Conference.
  • 2016 Putting the Museum back into Natural History Museums. Object Lessons and Nature Tables Conference. Reading University.
  • 2016 The Other 97% Making the most of the underwhelming fossils in museums. Popularising Palaeontology Workshop, King’s College London. Video here.
  • 2016 CEPHALOPODS ARE BRILLIANT! Talk for Ashmolean Museum LiveFriday! Under the Sea
  • 2016 Gendered legacies and museums today. Panel and roundtable at Gendering Museum Histories Museums & Galleries History Group Biennial Conference at the Ashmolean Museum.
  • 2016 Subhuman the ethics of displaying non-human persons and other animals. The Ethics of Display: exhibiting vulnerable bodies at Wawick University
  • 2016 Where are all the men in museums and why does it matter? Space Invaders: Women Museums Leaders at Imperial War Museum
  • 2016 Research Careers Pathway Event at Oxford Brookes University
  • 2015 Roundtable panel session. Collections in Use Symposium King’s College London
  • 2015 Social media challenge – “This museum is disgusting, why did you kill these animals?” Museums Unleashed. Natural Sciences Collections Association Bristol.
  • 2015 Creative approaches to Research-based learning. Session at UCL Teaching and Learning Conference 2015.
  • 2015 Museums as Provocateurs for Dialogue and Debate. Conference session at Norwegian Museums Consortium at the Cultural History Museum Bergen.
  • 2015 Casting Call. Conference session at In(ter)ventions: Objects Histories Outside and Inside the Museum at the British Museum.
  • 2014 The trials and tribulations of just a teaching collection. Conference session at The History of Teaching Natural History. Society for the History of Natural History.
  • 2014 Art and Science of Curatorship panel discussion. Museums Association Conference 2014.
  • 2014, Whales and Museums. The Whale and Exploration at the National Maritime Museum
  • 2014, Foraminifera Models in Science. Gallery talk at Site Gallery Sheffield.
  • 2014, Customs Collections. Collections Management of Collections You Don’t Own. Registrars: Training for the Future Programme. Leeds Museum.
  • 2014, Tweeting Moles? Social Media from the Grant Museum. UK Registrars Group Professional Development: It’s All About Skills.
  • 2013, Denmark Museums National Konference: Det Hybride Museum: Inside the black box:the Grant Museum at UCL.
  • 2013, Social Media Knowledge Exchange at University of Cambridge. Readers, visitors, users and audiences in the age of social media: A Social Media Challenge.
  • 2013, Social Media Knowledge Exchange at UCL. Social Media and the Museum. Tweeting Moles? Social Media form the Grant Museum.
  • 2013, Institute of Anatomical Sciences AGM conference presentation. ‘The new old Grant Museum’.
  • 2013, Natural Sciences Collections Association conference York on Policy and Practice. ‘Reviewing the reviews’ panel session on collections reviews.
  • 2012, I Object! conference session for Museums Association Conference.
  • 2012, Moving a Museum and Museum Documentaries Talk for Activating Stilled Lives: the Aesthetics and Politics of Specimens on Display. Part of the Cultures of Preservation research network between UCL Art History, the Grant Museum, the Natural History Museum and Royal College of Surgeons.
  • 2011, “From connoisseurship to bioblitz:monitoring climate change through insect collections” Talk for Insect City. More available here
  • 2011, “Will It Fit Through The Door? Relocating the Grant Museum” Natural History Museum Collections Management Seminar.
  • 2010, “Yesterday’s Objects: The Death and Afterlife of Everyday Things” Autopsies Research Group Study Day. “Video Game Culture- Making the Same Mistakes With a New Medium”. More available here
  • 2010, Natural Sciences Collections Association conference on Public Engagement. ‘Google me a penguin: Natural History Museums and the Web’.
  • 2009. Science on Display. Royal Society Conference presentation. ‘Mystery Object from the Grant Museum’
  • 2008. University Museums and Collections International Conference on University Museum: University Museums and the Community. Conference presentation. ‘University Museums and the Internet Community’
  • 2008. AHRC 3D Colour Laser Scanning conference, UCL. Session chair. 3D
    scanning in display (and exhibition), education and interpretation.
  • 2008. AHRC 3D Colour Laser Scanning conference, UCL. Conference presentation. ‘Fur and Feathers: Scanning at UCL’.
  • 2007. Museums and Galleries History Group, Society for the History of Natural History and University of Manchester Nature Behind Glass Symposium, The Manchester Museum. Conference presentation. ‘Nature Behind the Screen:How the videogame industry is performing the role of the idealised post museum natural history museums’.
  • 2007. The Third International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society, Cambridge University. Conference presentation. ‘Museums and the virtual’.
  • 2007. EVA London. Electronic Information, the  Visual Arts and Beyond, London College of Communication and University of the Arts London. Conference presentation. ‘3D Scanning for museum collections’.
  • 2006. EVA London. Electronic Information, the Visual Arts and Beyond, UCL. Workshop presentation. ‘Video game technology in “virtual exhibitions” on the web.’


  • Carnall, M. A. (2017) How to be more helpful to researchers. In The Museum Blog Book. Museums Etc. ISBN 978-1-910144-84-8. Original blog post here.
  • Carnall, M.A (2015) Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month, or how to get some use out of your useless fossils. The Palaeontological Association Newsletter: 89 75-81 (Available here)
  • Ross, C. Carnall, M., Hudson-Smith, A., Warwick, C., Terras. M. and Gray, S. (2014) Enhancing Museum Narratives:Tales of Things and UCL’s Grant Museum. In Farman, J. (Ed). The Mobile Story, Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-64148-7
  • Carnall, M (2013) Conversation Pieces Inspirational objects in UCL’s historic collections (editor). Oxford, Shire Publications. ISBN 978-1-78200-651-0
  • Carnall, M., Ashby J. and Ross, C (2013) Natural history museums as provocateurs for dialogue and debate. Museum Management and Curatorship. (Available here)
  • Carnall, M.A (2012) Virtual Palaeontology. The Palaeontological Association Newsletter: 79 82-87 (Available here)
  • Carnall, M.A (2012) Walking with Dragons: CGIs in Wildlife Documentaries. In Bentowska-Kafel, A., Denard, H. and Baker, D (eds) Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage, Pages 81-95 ISBN 9780754675839
  • Carnall, M. A. McEnroe, N (2011) Relocating the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, UCL. Collections A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals: Volume 7 Number 2 Pages 123-144
  • Carnall, M.A (2011) Eating Cats. In Chang, M. and Meusberger, L (eds.) The Food Junctions Cookbook, Pages 50-51 ISBN 9780957035409
  • Carnall, M.A (2011): Completely Rethinking the Organisation of Natural History Museums: A Taxonomically Arranged National Collection. NatSCA News:21 ISSN 1741-3974
  • Carnall, M.A. (2010): Google Me a Penguin: Natural History Collections and the Web. NatSCA News: 19 ISSN 1741-3974
  • Carnall, M. A & Cook, B (2010) The Virtual Museum. In Cook, B., Reynolds, R. and Speight, C (eds.) Museums and Design Education: Looking to Learn, Learning to See, Pages 165-176
    ISBN: 0754677133
  • Carnall, M. (2009) Beyond teaching: Chasing the Online Audience. Proceedings of the 8th Conference of the International Committee of ICOM for University Museums and Collections (UMAC) (Available here)
  • Carnall, M. A. (2007) Zoo Store 1 at the Natural History Museum. In Keene, S. (ed.) Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, Vol: S1, Pages 20-36, ISSN: 0965-9315

Press and Other Media 

  • Searching for the Old Ones: Lovecraftian giant cephalopods and the fossil record. Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Rare Specimens. Objectivity YouTube series. Available here.
  • Mysticism and rudely-shaped rocks: why 17th-century palaeontology is worth revisiting. Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Oxford dodo: The icon we’re still learning from. BBC Oxford. Available here.
  • Dodo Bird Unboxing. Objectivity YouTube series. Available here.
  • Bone Stories- Dodo. BBC Radio 4. Available here.
  • Why do cephalopods produce ink? And what’s ink made of, anyway? Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • The beautiful spiral. Oxford University Museum of Natural History More Than A Dodo Blog. Available here.
  • Developing a content strategy for your museum blog. Museum Practice. Available here, login required.
  • Is it real?- Skeletons & Bones. Oxford University Museum of Natural History More Than A Dodo Blog. Available here.
  • Is it real?- Taxidermy. Oxford University Museum of Natural History More Than A Dodo Blog. Available here.
  • The ancient mystery of St Hilda’s ‘snake stones’: what do ammonites really look like? Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Natural Histories ‘Dodo’ BBC Radio 4. Available here.
  • Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin the evolutionary ‘fairytale’ of coral. Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog, Available here.
  • Facts are the reason science is losing during the current war on reason. Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Flight of the Dodo. Oxford University Museum of Natural History More Than A Dodo Blog. Available here.
  • The Other 97%. Popularizing Palaeontology blog post. Available here.
  • Cetaceans and Cephalopods: Supporting the Work of Collections Managers One Specimen at a Time. Biodiversity Heritage Library blog. Available here.
  • Is palaeontology a waste of public money? Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Narrative Oxide podcast on the Oxford Univeristy Museum of Natural History dodo. Available here.
  • How to visit lost worlds: our pick of the UK’s palaeontology museums. Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • I, for one, welcome our new cephalopod overlords…but what are they? Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Let’s make living fossils extinct. Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • What role should museums have in collecting digital objects? Museums Journal The Conversation. Available here.
  • Festival of Nature Bright Club Oxford @ The Jericho Tavern. The Tradescant Collection.
  • Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius Science Museum, London Exhibition Review. Museums Journal Issue 116/06 p48-51. Available here.
  • The concept of species is flawed. So why is it so important to us? Guardian Lost Worlds Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • The Bloggers. Museums Journal May 2016. Available here.
  • What’s Your Favorite Extinct Species? Scientists’ Top Picks. National Geographic. Available here.
  • Tully Monster: mystery of the 300 million-year-old fossil finally solved. Guardian Lost World Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Museums must dust off old ways and address gender equality in leadership. Guardian Lost World Revisited Blog. Available here.
  • Lost Worlds Revisited- an introduction to out new palaeontology blog. Available here.
  • Museum Careers Advice – How to apply for jobs. Reposted blog post here.
  • Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month. BBC Radio 4 Inside Science. Available here.
  • What if the story of life on Earth isn’t what you think it is? Guardian Science Blog. Available here
  • Voxpop: What will be the main challenges for museums in 2016? Museums Journal December 2015.
  • Museums Showoff The Phyla Rap. July 2015.
  • Wellcome Collection, London Exhibition Review. Museums Journal July/August 2015 p44-47.
  • This museum is disgusting, why did you kill these animals?. Blog write up of Natural Sciences Collections Association conference session. Available here
  • Chapter Advisor for The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who, 2015 book by Simon Guerrier and Dr Marek Kukula.
  • Should we tell the public the financial value of museum objects? Museums Journal The Conversation. Available here
  • State of the Union! Natural History Museums 2014. Article on NatSCA website. Available here
  • Museums Showoff Bloomsbury Theatre- Art vs Science curatorship. June 2014.
  • When Two Tribes Go To War. Art & Science ‘curatorship’. Article for University of Cambridge Art & Science of Curation project. Available here
  • NatSCA 2014. An Update from the National Nature Collections Information Project. Available here
  • Museum Practice 2014. Social media case study Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month. Availablehere
  • Animal, Mineral Vegetable 2014, public lecture at UCL.
  • Sold out of science: embracing private collectors in natural history. Blog post for the Centre for the Future of Museums here.
  • Museums Showoff Bloomsbury Festival- Celebrating the Mundane. October 2013. Accompanying blog post at this link.
  • Social media and the museum: integrated social media at the Grant Museum. Social Media Knowledge Exchange. Blog here
  • Culture 24 2013 Curator’s Choice: Mark Carnall on the Micrarium at University College London’s Grant Museum. Article here
  • Interviewed for Sustaining Our Digital Future. 2013. Available here
  • University of Reading Display Ethics Interview. October 2012. Available here
  • Odds and Quads. Times Higher Education article on the Jar of Moles. October 2012. Available here
  • On My Bookshelf. Museums Journal September 2012. Also available to subscribers here.
  • It Came From The Stores 2012, public lecture at UCL.
  • Cardboard Chest of Starlux Extinct Animal Models, Grant Museum of Zoology 2012. Guest post on the Preserved! research network website. Full article here
  • UCL Staff News Spotlight On Mark Carnall 2012. Interview here
  • Museum Practice 2011. Interview about Digital and Mobile labels. Available here
  • Culture 24 2011 Curator’s Choice: Face to face with a giant deer head inside London’s Grant Museum of Zoology. Article here
  • Culture 24 2011 Appeasing ethical karma: A look at the new home of the Grant Museum of Zoology. Article here
  • The Guardian Half a dodo found in museum drawer. February 2011. Online version here
  • Cafe Scientifique@ The Horniman Museum 2011. Are you Talking to me?.
  • Bright Club @ The Bloomsbury Theatre- Hidden Treasures October 2010
  • Interview with Science File August 2010 here.
  • Bright Club London- The Sea 2010 Variety Night. More available here.
  • Bright Club Brighton- The Sea 2010 Variety Night. More available here.
  • Cafe Scientifique@ The Horniman Museum 2010. Back from Extinction. More available here.
  • Food Junctions 2010. Taboo Foods- Why you should eat your cat. here.
  • Bright Club- Lust-Naughty Nature 2009 Variety Night. More available here.
  • Richard & Judy, 2009, Review of Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian
  • Big Brother’s Little Brother, 2009, Unicorns and Dragons: a debunking.
  • CNN News, 2009, Is 90-year old tortoise a Dad? Available here.
  • Dinosaurs are Pointless, 2008, public lecture at UCL.
  • Scientific Advisor for Deeper, 2008 science fiction book by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams.
  • Radio 4 Go4it Programme, 20th July 2008, Programme in the Grant Museum exploring Cryptozoology and Tunnels series of books.
  • Naughty Nature 2: Seven Deadly Sins, 2007, public lecture at UCL.
  • Naughty Nature: Birds do it…, 2007, public lecture at UCL.

Displays and Exhibitions

A selection of displays and exhibitions with significant individual curatorial input

  • 2017 Flight of the Dodo. Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Presenting… display on dodo head casts. Blog post here.
  • 2016 Stone Age Primates. Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Display showcasing ERC research group work on non-human primate archaeology. Blog post here.
  • 2013 The Micrarium. Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL. Weblink here.
  • 2012 It Came From the Stores. Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL. Blog post here.
  • 2011 QRator project. Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL. Website here.
  • 2011 Reopening of the Grant Museum of Zoology UCL. Information here.
  • 2011 The Eyes Have It. UCL Museums and Collections exhibition. Blog post here.
  • 2004 Inspiring Science. London Science Learning Centre.

3 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Tips for an effective museum job application | Rupert Shepherd

  2. Pingback: Elsewhere in the blogosphere update January | Fistful Of Cinctans

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