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Natural-history collections are bits of scientific evidence about the world around us. The collections are used in studies that help us understand the natural environment and improve our connection to nature now and in the future.

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Donating Specimens

The Canadian Museum of Nature continually develops Canada's national natural-history collections, and may be interested in specimens that you have to offer.

If you are interested in donating specimens to our collections, refer to the best-practices guide Framework for Researchers, and talk to the relevant collection curator.

The museum acquires thousands of specimens and natural-history objects each year as the result of our research and that of others, the work of private collectors both professional and amateur, and many other sources.

For those wishing to contribute to our collections, it's important to become familiar with certain collection best practices by consulting collection professionals or the resources that they recommend.

These steps help ensure that investments in collecting result in specimens that can be legally accepted and that will be useful to the vast clientele that consults the collections every day. It can be very disappointing to learn that missing documentation or inappropriate preparation techniques prohibit a prospective donation.

Accordingly, the museum and its partners in the research community developed the Framework for Researchers as a guide for general collection best practices that could be relevant to any collector. For help in understanding these best practices, or for information specific to the discipline in which you collect, consult a collection professional in your domain.

Bird specimens in a tray.Animals

The zoology collections are the most diverse and numerous at the museum and include animals with a backbone (the vertebrates) and those without (the invertebrates). About our zoology collections.

Skull and vertebrae of the Puijila darwini fossil. Catalogue #NUFV 405.Fossils

The palaeobiology collections have over 61 620 vertebrate specimens (reptiles, mammals and fishes), the best fossil-pollen collection in Canada, and some fossil plants and fungi. About our palaeobiology collections.

Dioptase and cerussite. Catalogue #CMNMC 56740.Minerals

The rock, mineral and gem collections began over 150 years ago with the geological exploration of Canada, and continues to develop today. About our geological collections.

Round-leaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). Archive slide #S75-4564.Plants and Algae

The botany collections document wild plants through time, with a focus on Canadian species and habitats. About our botany collection.

A view of the facility.Cryobank

Our cryogenic-collection facility uses liquid nitrogen to preserve tissue samples for biodiversity research at −170°C.

View of the interior of the library.Library and Archives

Books, periodicals, art, photographs and historical documents are part of this natural-history library and archives that is one of the oldest in Canada, tracing its beginnings to 1842. About our library and archives.