The Linnean Society at Home

The Linnean Society has been communicating nature since 1788, and we're not stopping now. Here are some ways to engage with the Society from home.

Published on 22nd April 2020

From a young age, Carl Linnaeus (whose specimen collections and library we hold) was encouraged to explore in nature, be curious, take notes, share his findings and learn more about life on Earth. While the world today looks a little different from Linnaeus' life in the early 1700s, we still hold onto these values and, perhaps now more than ever, we should be taking the time to appreciate and engage with the wonders of the natural world.

The Linnean Society has been communicating nature since 1788, making us the longest-standing biological society. Despite being away from our historic rooms in Burlington House, we are remaining true to our mission to inform, involve and inspire people of all ages about nature and its wider interactions through our collections, programmes and publications. And thankfully, there are many ways that everyone can engage with all of these aspects of the Society from home.

The Reading Room of the Linnean Society

Explore our Collections

Our archives and correspondence can be viewed online, as well as our impressive Library of books related to natural history from 1483 to date, which can be accessed via our online catalogue on on Library Hub. The Society also holds various collections of artwork, artefacts and biological specimens from Carl Linnaeus, Sir James Edward Smith and others, which can also be engaged with from home via Linnean Online. Our Buchanan-Hamilton artworks are also presented in The Watercolour World.

The Collections staff are as keen as ever to respond to questions and queries via, and they are active on Twitter @LinneanSociety where they share real-time insights, thoughts and discoveries.

Art, Activities, Media and More

Calotes lacertilia
A Special Species entry from Sanjay in Croxley Danes School

Throughout history, it has been shown again and again that scientists use art to express ideas, concepts and simply to marvel at life’s intricacies. There are lots of ways to explore and present nature using an artistic lens. Some suggestions might be taking part in one of our competitions, like creating a Special Species, or carefully producing herbarium sheets. While it may be difficult to be inside right now, be creative, use your imagination and look for the beauty in nature wherever you can. And share the results with us!

While we encourage each and every one of you to take pleasure in the real, living world outside, we are living in a time where we need to stay indoors. Therefore, you might find our videos of past meetings particularly enjoyable, our insightful podcast series enlightening, or our vibrant animated videos… entertaining!

Interested in the history of science?

Why not peruse some back issues and special issues of our publication The Linnean, that explores the lives and work of scientific figures like Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, and mixes new ideas with old concepts.

The Society has lots to offer, even though our building may be closed right now, so please do continue to engage with us and we will continue to work to communicate nature, like we have since 1788.

For more, please visit our dedicated Linnean Society at Home web-page.