Mark Carnall

Mark Carnall

Curator,  Grant Museum of Zoology

G15 Rockefeller Building
21 University Street
University College London
London WC1E 6JJ

+44 (0)20 3108



Mark Carnall is the curator of the 67,000 specimens held in the Grant Museum of Zoology. He has previously worked and volunteered at local authority, national and university natural history museums.

arriving at the Grant Museum in 2004 he has been working to document and conserve the zoological and palaeontological collections as well as making the collections more available to audiences through the internet and through public engagement work. He is also involved with the museums outreach and education programmes.

Aside from curatorial responsibilities he lectures Museum Studies students at UCL in introductory courses in natural history curation and digitisation in museums. He lectures nationally at conferences on visualisation, video games and internet technologies in culture. Mark is also enthusiastic about engaging adult audiences through science humour in public lectures and through stand up comedy like Naughty Nature: Bees do it and Naughty Nature 2: The Seven Deadly Sins and a number of UCL’s Bright Clubs.

He works with the Arius 3D Scanner at UCL and is interested in visualisation technologies for public engagement and for object conservation. He has published a number of articles and book chapters looking at the role of technology in museums as well as how the role of Natural History museums is changing in modern society.

Mark works across UCL museums and collections on the collections advisory and international group He works with colleagues on the care and management of the collections across UCL and the advocacy of object based learning at all levels of education..


  • 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-Present Curator, Grant Museum of Zoology

Research interests

  • Science communication and public engagement through science
  • Natural history curation, condition surveying and collection auditing
  • Science history and museum archives
  • Palaeobiology, taxonomy and evolution
  • Environmental conservation
  • Digitisation and e-learning for natural history collections
  • Digital culture and heritage
  • 3D object scanning and virtual reconstruction
  • Natural history representation in fiction

Conference presentations

  • 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
  • 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 (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). Odxford, 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

Honours and awards

  • ESCILTA. (2008) — funding for project assistant to develop Virtual Electronic Resource for the Biosciences (VERB), University College London.
  • AHRC Workshop Fund. (2006) — ‘3D Scanning Workshop’ One day workshop and one day conference, University College London.

Press and media

  • Museums Showoff The Phyla Rap. July 2015.
  • Wellcome Collection, London Exhibition Review. Museums Journal July/August 2015 p44-47.
  • Work Life: Mark Carnall. Profile for UCL PACE Newsletter. Available here
  • 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. Available here
  • 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.


  • Nature Data Coordinating Committee
  • Human Remains Subject Specialist Network- Steering panel and web editor
  • Palaeontological Association
  • Natural Sciences Collections Association