Museum at Home: Herbaruim, flower pressing

Wollaton Hall may be closed at the moment, but we can still bring the museum to you, with information and activities linked to our collection and sites.

For instance, did you know that Wollaton Hall has an impressive ‘Herbarium’ collection of preserved plants? Below we explore a little more about its collection and activities for those planning to enjoy the long weekend and half term holiday outside in the garden.

The History of the 'Herbarium' collection

At Wollaton Hall (Nottingham’s Natural History Museum) we have many interesting collections. One of our special collections is our ‘herbarium’, which is a collection of preserved plants. We have 100,000 pressed plants and flowers from around the globe, as well as seeds and other samples.

Francis Willoughby (whose father, also called Francis who built Wollaton Hall from 1580-1588) was very interested in collecting plants in Britain and other countries. In the 1660’s he travelled with his friend John Ray, a naturalist (an expert in Natural History) and collected many specimens.

Our challenge for those in the garden...

While we’re closed and so many people are outside in their gardens, enjoying the long weekend and half-term holiday, why not have a go at pressing your own flowers? 

Step 1: Collect just a few flower heads and lay out carefully on a piece of paper. 

Step 2: Put another piece of paper over the top and put some heavy books on top to ‘press’ the flowers.

Step 3: In 2-3 days check and your flowers should be preserved, which means they will keep for a long time.

Please only use garden flowers or “weeds” from your own gardens. Do not collect from anyone else’s garden, parks, public street displays, and please do not pick wild flowers.

For some inspiration, check out a few examples here:

Pressed knapweed collected (1858-Berry, France)

Some spring flowers laid out ready for pressing

Our challenge for those indoors...

Some artists make beautiful botanical drawings and paintings, looking at the structure, colour and details of plants. For instance, a local artist Maria Moldavsky created paintings using plants as the main subject matter. 

Botanical Artist - Maria Moldavsky

Kew Prints of Marianne (North)

If you are indoors and have pot plants on the window sill, why not make these the subject  for your next work of art.

We would love to see your flower pressed pictures or flower art, so why not photograph them and share with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter by tagging us with #WollatonHall