How did scientists and naturalists organize their artifact collections in the 1700s? How could these systems, long before we began to rely on computers to help us organize data, improve our understanding of the natural world?

In these two Clever Collections videos from The Linnean Society of London, we get a peek at how botanist, physician, and zoologist Carl Linnaeus attempted to organize and classify his evergrowing collection of scientific data and artifacts, and how those classifications are still relevant in modern science. Above, Deputy Collections Manager and Librarian Dr. Isabelle Charmantier explains Carl Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae.

Learn how Carl Linnaeus stored plant specimens, an early attempt to organize delicate botanical samples for scientific study, below. Forensic Botanist and Natural Historian Dr. Mark Spencer introduces Carl Linnaeus’ Herbarium Cabinet.

Further reading: So just who was Carl Linnaeus?

Follow these with Preserving the Forest of the Sea, the world’s largest collection of whale bones, Cabinet of Wonders: Alfred Russel Wallace’s personal cabinet, and Why are museum collections so important? Sir David Attenborough explains.

Bonus: 33 Million Things at the American Museum of Natural History and more AMNH Shelf Life videos.

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