Museums / Collections

Natural history museums engage in different functions. They serve the general purpose of education through the organization of exhibitions and the classification of exhibits. At the same time many natural history museums serve as research facilities. Main areas of responsibility are collection, maintainance and research. Research activities are largely related to collection specimens. Collection are generally held in the classical fields of Geology, Paleontology, Botany, Zoology and Cultural Anthropology. The majority of large natural history museums in Europe were founded in the beginning of the 19th century as a response to the major scientific survey expeditions. Another development fueling the establishment of natural history collections was an increasing alienation from the natural environment through industrialization.

A large part of natural history collections are accomodated in museums, however several others can be found at different institutes and private organiations. Typus-material, i.e. the specimens upon which a species description is first based, kept in museums is of greatest value.

More information about natural history collections can be obtained at Netzwerk-Forum zur Biodiversitätsforschung Deutschland (mostly in German).

Overview of collections

Links to meta-databases of biological collections:

German University Collections, in German

German Registration Center for Biological Collections (ZEFOD)

DFG-Project Database GEPRIS (German Project Information System)

MeDaCollect (Meta-Database of Biological Collections), in German

Links to German museums:

ICOM-Germany (International Council of Museums Germany)

German Museums Association