Museum governance

The Natural History Museum is one of the world’s foremost resources for natural science, with magnificent collections and groundbreaking research expertise.

Continued funding is critical to our work and the Museum is therefore a recognised charity, exempt from registration under the Charities Act of 1993. Exempt charity number X23490/3. 

The Museum is also a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB), sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This allows us to operate with a reasonable degree of independence from the government, working on a three-year cycle with predetermined objectives and levels of grant-in-aid.

Find out more about Museum funding

Management of the Museum is undertaken by our Museum Director and the Executive Board. The Museum Director reports to the governing board of 12 Trustees, nine of whom are appointed by the Prime Minister and the DCMS. 

Download the Museum governance chart PDF (54.5 KB)

Originally formed as the Natural History departments of the British Museum, the Natural History Museum became a separate entity through the British Museum Act 1963. We were known as the British Museum (Natural History) until we officially became the Natural History Museum through the Museums and Galleries Act 1992.

  • The Board of Trustees

    The Board of Trustees is responsible for overseeing the management of the Museum and the appointment of the Museum Director.

  • The Executive Board

    The Executive Board is responsible for running the Museum under the leadership of the Museum Director, who is appointed by the Board of Trustees.

  • The Audit and Risk Committee

    The Board has established an Audit Committee to support them in their responsibilities for issues of risk, control and governance, financial reporting and associated assurance.

  • Strategy and planning

    In order to achieve its vision and mission, the Museum sets objectives and plans strategies.

  • Funding

    Find out more about how the Museum is funded.

  • Museum policies and procedures

    Find out more about the Museum's policies and procedures.

  • Natural History Museum Trading Company

    The Natural History Museum Trading Company carries out the commercial activities of the Museum.

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Cartoon image of footprints disappearing through closing door

The Museum's smallest members of staff are our flesh-eating beetles, Dermestes maculates, who strip carcasses to the bone.