Brain Diaries

Brain Diaries was an exhibition at the Museum of Natural History (March 2017 - January 2018), with an accompanying public event programme; online digital resources including an animation by Oxford Sparks, developed in partnership with Oxford Neuroscience.

The exhibition presented current understanding of the healthy brain from pre-birth to old age, while the public programme explored translational and clinical neuroscience research.

The exhibition also promoted active public participation in research, enabling visitors to take part in research studies and contribute new ideas for brain investigators. For blind and partially visitors, there is a hands on exhibition tour using 3D printed brains for a tactile experience.

Building capacity for Public Engagement with Research

The project was the largest installment of the museum's Contemporary Science and Society series, enabling researchers at all career levels to leverage the museum's experience and skills in public engagement, whilst accessing the museum's public to engage in their research.

Researchers appear on the interactive video Q&A screens in the exhibition, giving visitors the opportunity to interact 'face to face' via digital means; and the live event programme enables visitors to engage with a greater number of researchers directly.

Outcomes and impacts

​More than 150 research scientists from four University departments and over 20 support staff contributed to Brain Diaries.

The programme and exhibition reached an audience of more than 45,000 people from Oxfordshire and beyond in its first two months of opening.

The project exemplified the power and value of collaborative working between the museum and academic departments.

​"We all look forward to the opportunity to engage with the public through the museums. It is particularly useful for younger researchers to have to develop ways of conveying complex information and I knoy they always find it very rewarding." ​Christopher Kennard, Head of Medical Science Division and Emeritus Professor of Clinical Neurology

Funded by:​ The Negaunee Foundation and Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund



Visitors engaging with 3D printed brains