Our Research and Collections Facility
The Natural Heritage Campus is the Canadian Museum of Nature's science and administration centre, officially opened in the spring of 1997. The campus is situated on 56 hectares of land in Gatineau, Quebec. The facility is designed to provide the standards of safety, security and preservation necessary to safeguard Canada's natural history collection. The Victoria Memorial Museum Building in Ottawa, Ontario remains the site of the museum's exhibitions and galleries.
The Natural Heritage Campus was specially designed to foster advanced collection management and protection techniques for natural history collections. As such, it includes many innovative features such as a carbon dioxide bubble and walk-in storage freezers for control of pest organisms, as well as technologically advanced electron microprobe equipment used by mineralogy experts and other sophisticated scientific labs.
The museum chose to consolidate resources previously dispersed among several older buildings in the National Capital Region surrounding Ottawa. By bringing together museum staff and resources into one centralized location, the museum has become more efficient and more focused. Museum staff now have the superior work environment they need to concentrate fully on their work in scientific studies and exhibitions.
The 20 478-square-metre building offers improved workspace configuration and security features to protect the collections from both human and natural hazards. The collection area has three large environmentally controlled components or "pods" that house 42 individual collection rooms and nine documentation rooms. The size of this area is equivalent to approximately one-and-a-half football fields. The building also includes specially equipped dry and wet laboratories for the identification and preservation of specimens.
Prior to moving in, staff undertook the enormous effort of reorganizing the museum's vast specimen collections. A total of 963 new cabinets were added to replace old, substandard cabinets and increase the amount of available storage space to avoid the overcrowding of specimens. The collection storage area currently holds a total of 2439 cabinets, which have been custom-designed to improve organization and access.
Individual collections are grouped according to their degree of susceptibility to environmental factors and pests. Some are isolated to provide maximum environmental protection. Specially sealed and secured corridors surround the various collections and labs, rendering them accessible only to authorized personnel.
Research is essential to gain unbiased information needed to foster a greater understanding of the natural world. On the Natural Heritage Campus, Canadian Museum of Nature scientists conduct relevant research in botany, zoology, mineral sciences and palaeobiology.
The Canadian Museum of Nature's extensive library holdings are now centralized at our research and collections facility, making it easy for researchers to gain quick access to reference works and current journals.
Location of Our Research and Collections Facility*