RESEARCH TEAM / INSTITUTE EXCELLENCE
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM OF CRETE (NHMC)
The Natural History Museum of Crete (NHMC) of the University of Crete has reached the 32nd year since its foundation and the 20th year since its dynamic activation and development. It acts as a repository where data from the natural environment are collected, systematized and are being made available for further research.
In contrast to the corresponding European research institutions, the geographical focus of the NHMC collections is very specific and relates to the Eastern Mediterranean. It can considered as being in between an Archaeological and a Natural History Museum where the first protects and explores elements of our cultural heritage whereas the Natural History Museums protect the environmental elements, correspondingly.
Main area of interest, of training activities as well as of knowledge dissemination, is the NHMC exhibition hosted in a special area of 6000m2. However, there are also training activities for the students of the University of Crete and other cooperating higher education institutions, which are mostly carried out in the NHMC laboratories.
Environmental treasures from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Natural History Museum of Crete
ACTIVITY AND COLLECTIONS
NHMC collections are divided into zoological, botanical, palaeontological, mineralogical and anthropological. Until now, there are around 2,000,000 samples, from which the largest number concerns zoological collections. Furthermore, the NHMC collects recordings of fauna species, photographic and cinematographic material and maintains a full thematic library and extensive digital files. The collections are enriched by the NHMC research activity in the Hellenic area but also in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, with more than 20 research missions. The utilization of the collections in the production of original scientific work has promoted the development of international partnerships, turning it into the reference centre for environmental research in the Eastern Mediterranean area.
Training activity at all levels has grown equally to the research activity. In the NHMC exhibition, visitors become partners in the generation of knowledge and participate in the thematic, periodic exhibitions from around the world. A lot of Greek postgraduate and doctoral theses (mainly from the University of Crete) as well as students from abroad have completed their research based on the collections of NHMC. Main future aim for the maintenance and development of these activities is the modernization of the collections area, the improvement of the preservation conditions, the enrichment and upgrading of exhibition area.
HONORARY AWARD & INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
In 2012 the NHMC received an honorary recognition for its activity, the Emmanouil Benaki award, from the Academy of Athens, escorted by 10,000.00 euros.
Also, on 12 April 2013, the NHMC was unanimously elected as a full member in the non-profit European scientific consortium CETAF (Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities). The CETAF functions as a cooperation network of the largest National NHM, Botanical Gardens, Biodiversity Research Centres and other relevant institutes. Its members combine criteria related to the size of their collections, to their research activity, their scientific staff and infrastructure.
The NHMC, the only Greek Museum of Natural History participating in the above consortium, was positively evaluated as a dynamic new museum with rich scientific activity in the Hellenic area and in the wider region of the eastern Mediterranean.
UNIVERSITY OF CRETE