This blog post was written by Kate Wilcox (Institute of Historical Research) and Argula Rublack (Senate House Library) co-organisers of History Day. History Day is a free, one-day event which brings people interested in history together with history collections from archives, libraries and other organisations. It is created collaboratively between the Institute of Historical Research and Senate House Library. 

Our annual History Day event will be held online again this year on 4 November. It will include a mixture of interactive live sessions and pre-made content helping researchers to discover historical sources. This year’s event has a theme of environmental history, appropriate as it takes place during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). We will be exploring collections that capture the experiences of ordinary people, collectors and scientists, looking at nature, landscape, climate change and much more.  

The morning session, Collecting Nature and the Nature of Collecting, will explore new perspectives on 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. The session will be chaired by Sophie Page, Professor of Medieval History at UCL, with speakers Kat Harrington, Assistant Archivist from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Abby Hoverstock, Senior Archivist at Denver Public Library Conservation Collection, Miranda Lowe, Principal Curator (Crustacea & Cnidaria) at The Natural History Museum and Dolly Jørgensen, Professor of History at the University of Stavanger. 

The afternoon session is an interactive workshop on Collecting Nature Memories. It will be chaired by Catherine Clarke (Centre for the History of People, Place and Community, IHR), with lightning talks from speakers from Essex Wildlife TrustArmagh Observatory & Planetarium, King’s College London Weather Memories project and Maxwell Ayamba, University of Nottingham, journalist and founder of the Sheffield Environmental Movement. 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 and individuals.   The session will be opened for the audience to share their own “nature memories” via social media and a crowdsourced Padlet. 

Interspersed between the sessions we will be launching a video compilation of extracts showcasing contributors’ environmental history collections. We will also be sharing a range of different content including blog posts, videos and galleries to give researchers of all kinds inspiration to help with their research. Look out for this content via links from the History Day programme on the day of the event.

We are excited to be bringing together organisations which have a long relationship with History Day and some joining us for the first time this year. They represent a diverse range from the UK and beyond and the day itself will be a chance to celebrate wide-ranging history collections. 

Below is the list of organisations and collections who will participate. We hope you will join us on the day by signing up at