About HOPE for the Future
HOPE for the Future is the Museum’s ambitious three-year project to protect and share its amazing British Insect Collection. The unique and irreplaceable British Insect Collection contains more than a million specimens, representing all insect groups from butterflies, beetles, and bees to flies and fleas.
Why we need your support
These insect specimens, some over 200 years old, urgently need saving from pests, pinning rust, and the external environment. Our HOPE Collections team condition check the specimens, carefully add the original labels or relabel, transfer to new storage, and ensure the collection meets modern checklist standards for research and study. Your support means that more than one million insects can be saved for display, research, and learning. Rare and wonderful museum collections such as this are a vital information bank for understanding the climate and biodiversity crisis, and for understanding the extent of species loss and ecology damage.
Preserving and cataloguing these insects collected across the UK from the 1800s means that we can continue to use them in the connected learning and community programme, inspiring the next generation of scientists and encouraging people to care more for the natural heritage on their doorsteps. Your support will enable us to run summer schools, Discovery Days and Entomologist Clubs with children and young people, as well as an outreach programme with families, grandparents and community elders – all encouraging thousands of people to appreciate and understand insects and their relationship to humans, other creatures and the environment.
Westwood Room Restoration
HOPE for the Future will also restore and offer public access to the Westwood Room for the first time. The Westwood Room is a beautiful, historic and artistically important part of the Pre-Raphaelite history of the Museum which is underutilised, currently only accessible to Museum staff. Originally named ‘Mr Hope’s Museum’ after Frederick William Hope, a founding collector of this Museum in the 1840s, Hope’s Museum within a Museum became a favourite meeting place for naturalists. In fact, Charles Darwin called Hope ‘my father in entomology’. Your support will open the doors to the Westwood Room for all to enjoy insect-focused programmes and other popular Museum events.
Support HOPE today
Your support can help to protect this extraordinary collection and share it with the world. HOPE for the Future is generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Lottery Players, and the Museum still needs to raise part of the partnership funding. Gifts from visitors to the Museum and insect lovers around the world will ensure the Museum's ability to share the Collection with families, schools, and community groups.