Sloane's Treasures: A cultural and scientific exploration of the research potential of Sir Hans Sloane's collections

Exploratory Award

Project Team:

Principal Investigator:

Dr Kim Sloan, British Museum


Dr Arnold Hunt, British Library

Julie Harvey, Natural History Museum,

Dr J.D Hill, British Museum

Dr Charlie Jarvis, Natural History Museum

Dr Kristian Jensen, British Library

Felicity Roberts, Natural History Museum

Dr Sam Alberti, Royal College of Surgeons

Professor Clare Brant, King’s College London

Dr Peter Collins, Royal Society

Dr James Delbourgo, Reutgers University

Dr Elizabeth Eger, King’s College London

Dr Honor Gay, Natural History Museum

Dr Anne Goldgar, King’s College London

Joy Gregory, Kingston University

Professor Amy Meyers, Yale Centre for British Art

Professor Miles Ogborn, Queen Mary University of London

Dominic Oldman, British Museum

Professor Simon Schaffer, University of Cambridge

Alison Walker, British Library

Image credit: Sloane’s shells, © Natural History Museum.

Award Information:

Sir Hans Sloane (1660- 1753), was a physician, traveler, natural philosopher and man of letters responsible for gathering one of the largest and most significant collections of natural and artificial curiosities assembled during the Enlightenment. This huge collection includes 80,000 natural and artificial objects, a vast herbarium and a library of 50,000 volumes and a range of botanical and zoological specimens.

On his death, Sloane’s collection was acquired for the nation and it became the founding collection of the British Museum and was also later divided across the Natural History Museum and the British Library. These three institutions formed a Consortium in 2011 to address the physical and intellectual fragmentation of Sloane’s collection. this exploratory award has helped develop a proposed consortium Programme called Reconstructing Sloane, which plans to digitize and research the collections and to develop public engagement activities to raise the academic and public profile of Sloane’s important collection.

Project website:

Further information:

A Case Study (PDF) of this AHRC Science in Culture Theme Exploratory Award is available to download here.

Project dates: February- October 2012