Your support helps us to preserve and celebrate the social history of natural history in the North East.

The history of natural history in the North East

NHSN was founded in 1829 to promote the study of natural history, and to provide opportunities for research and education.

Our natural history archive, housed within the Great North Museum: Hancock, is home to thousands of documents, artworks and photographs. It is considered to be a significant regional resource for the study of local social history, the history of art in the North East, and the study of natural history across the region.

‘The Greyhound Fox’, Thomas Bewick

Our archive collections

Collected over almost two centuries, NHSN’s archive brings together the work, research, and personal stories of a long line of North East naturalists.

The items contained within and the stories they hold provide inspiration for writers, artists, naturalists, scientists, and researchers.

These collections and archives can be used as a rich source of evidence to explore the nature of collection-building in the 18th and 19th centuries and to develop biographical accounts of collectors, artists and illustrators.

NHSN has been my inspiration and means of obtaining local natural history knowledge ever since I joined when I was 11. I am 70 next on my next birthday.

NHSN Member

Search our collections

You can search our archive online here. The collection search includes items from all Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums‘ collections and organisations.

To limit your search to NHSN collections, add ‘NEWHM’ to your list of keywords. To search the NHSN Archive collection, select ‘Natural Sciences’ from the Department list and select ‘Archive’ from the collection list.

News from the Archive and Library

Archive & Library ›
Of all the treasures in the Great North Museum: Hancock collections, it is often the most nondescript that boast the…
Archive & Library ›
As the Great Exhibition of the North prepares to launch and the Great North Museum: Hancock completes the final preparations…
Archive & Library ›
NHSN member, Alan Hart, shares his favourite North East nature book, recommending A Natural History of English Gardening, by Mark…
Natural History Archive ›
Explore the North East’s natural history library and discover over 12,000 books and journals on the natural world. The North…
Natural History Archive ›
People have been donating animal, plant and mineral specimens and ethnographic material to NHSN for 200 years. Thanks to this…