Public Engagement and Value

Open house library event

New Burlington House was purpose-built for the Linnean Society of London and the other Courtyard Societies in the 1870s. The Society offers £8.2 million in public value a year, thought our events, education programmes, public engagement, and valuable heritage collections.

Summary of the public value delivered by the Society at Burlington House in as estimated by PWC in 2019 following Treasury Green Book rules
CategoryValue
Knowledge generation and dissemination£3,664,200
Library & collection£4,236,000
Supporting education£258,000
Public outreach & engagement (including policy)£61,700
TOTAL GROSS VALUE (min)£8,219,900

Knowledge Generation and Dissemination

The Society hosts a wide variety of events for Fellows and the public through the year, for our full event listing please visit our events page. Events are all filmed and made available on our YouTube channel shortly after they are held.

Fieldwork in Fancy Dress: A Natural History of Women in the Field

Fieldwork in Fancy Dress: A Natural History of Women in the Field

Dr Sandy Knapp PLS

YouTube Link
The Evolution of Passerine Birds Explained

The Evolution of Passerine Birds Explained

Prof. Jon Fjeldså

YouTube Link
Murder Most Florid: Botany and the Crime Scene

Murder Most Florid: Botany and the Crime Scene

Dr Mark Spencer FLS

YouTube Link
Alfred Russel Wallace and 'The Malay Archipelago'

Alfred Russel Wallace and 'The Malay Archipelago'

Day Meeting

YouTube Link
The Inside Out of Flies

The Inside Out of Flies

Dr Erica McAlister FLS


YouTube Link

Library and Collections

The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest biological society and has in its care several important collections, including those of the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and the Society’s founder, Sir James Edward Smith.

Our incredible Library is free and open to our membership and the public, to be used for research or as a peaceful workplace in the heart of Piccadilly. We also conduct regular tours of our collections, and hold exhibitions to showcase some of our favourite items.

Open House event picture
Library Mezzanine
YearLibrary ReadersVisitors on Tours
20172961,004
2018308835
20193771,136

Our online catalogues, including the library and archives catalogues, as well as the digitised collections, allow for more in-depth exploration of our wonderful collections.

Supporting Education

The Society’s collections and heritage help to inform and inspire students of all ages to understand, value and protect the natural world. Through our interdisciplinary programmes we aim to engage with anyone with a passion for nature. Our annual Student Futures Conference offers students of natural science the opportunity to connect and showcase their work, while empowering them to help drive change in academia by highlighting issues around inclusion. In 2021, the conference attracted 159 undergraduates, 91 masters students and 97 PhD students from across the globe:

"I am a new PhD student and hearing other people's struggles and achievements, especially in lockdown has helped me feel I am in the right place. The passion everyone has showcased also gives me hope."

The Society also provides grants for a variety of purposes and one of these grants is called 'Our Local Nature'. This grant fund innovative projects, designed and led by young people in the UK, which aim to increase access to local natural spaces and encourage a deeper appreciation and understanding of nature. In 2020, 11 awardees received grants of up to £1,000 to improve access to natural spaces and increase understanding of their local biodiversity, from installing wildlife cameras to creating a habitat wall out of shipping containers.

BMM celebration

Now in its sixth year, the Biomedia Meltdown project brings natural history to life through cross-curricular learning. Our projects connect young, curious minds to biology and natural history through innovative art techniques. Working with schools, libraries, hospitals and community groups as well as home schoolers, we offer a range of activities each year to explore diverse topics. Works are submitted to our yearly competition and are eligible for prizes at our annual award ceremony.

BioMedia Project entry
BioMedia Project entry

I intend … to be more aware of my surroundings. As me and my brothers learnt about nature blindness, we will try spreading our knowledge to our friends. So they can be more aware of little things around them.

BioMedia Participant 2021

BioMedia Project entry
BioMedia Project entry

I learned … so many ways to appreciate science, art and nature together. Science doesn’t have to be just logistics, art just painting portraits or nature just in wildlife parks. You can combine these three important things and in doing so experience the best of the best of the three and learn how to perceive the natural world in a new light.

BioMedia Participant 2021

BioMedia Project entry
BioMedia Project entry

I really loved this BioMedia project and have learnt a lot. My favourite activity was learning about snails. I love snails and think they are fascinating creatures. I made my snail Roman as I learnt that the Romans brought the Roman snails to Britain under Claudius. I imagined a whole story for my Roman snail shell, descended from Claudius’s pet snail.

BioMedia Participant 2021

BioMedia Project entry
BioMedia Project entry

What I’ve noticed … I have noticed, more and more, about animal observation. I have noticed lots of Mosses and Lichens that I wouldn’t have nessacerialy seen otherwise. I have noticed lots of different plants, too, especially with the Rosaceae Family and how they all have similar flower.

BioMedia Participant 2021


Public outreach & engagement

Our mission is to engage with as many people as possible about the wonders of the natural world, and why it needs to be protected. Through events online and onsite at our historic building on Piccadilly, we are a home to all those interested in science, history and art. Our fortnightly lectures attract both our membership and the public, covering a wide variety of topics, from small island biodiversity, to rewilding, to forensic entomology; our Science Policy Lectures aim to stimulate debate and keep everyone connected with big scientific concepts and changes. Teacher training, art classes and student skills workshops are hosted in our newly-refurbished Discovery Room. Annually, all of the societies around the Burlington House courtyard come together to hold our brilliant Courtyard Lates – fun after-hours activities based around a singular theme, including talks, demos, gin tasting, and for our 2019 late, a torch-lit escape room.

Escape room for the 2019 Courtyard Lates Event
Escape room for the 2019 Courtyard Lates Event