Digital Museum

Mobilising the world’s natural history collections for the benefit of human well-being

We are embarking on an epic journey to digitise 80 million specimens from one of the world’s most important natural history collections.

Digitising the Museum’s collection will give the global scientific community access to unrivalled historical, geographic and taxonomic specimen data gathered in the last 250 years.

Digital collections programme

Over the next five years we plan to digitise a quarter of the Museum's specimens by establishing high-throughput digital capture workflows for all major collection types. We have created an online Data Portal giving everyone access to the specimen and lot-level data, and will develop flexible informatics and visualisation tools to analyse the data.

The Billion+ project

Our ultimate aim is to include data from more than a billion specimens held in museums and botanic gardens around the world. Combining this data with new modelling and data visualisation tools will allow us to carry out the largest analysis of natural history data.

Power to the people

A team at the Museum has developed a Data Portal, giving the world digital access to the Museum’s collection data and research datasets.


The iCollections project team are digitising more than half a million British and Irish butterflies and moths, as a pilot for the digitisation of all pinned collections.

Digital collections programme

Over the next five years we plan to digitise 20 million specimens, establish high-throughput digital capture workflows for all major collection types and give everyone access to the digital collections via the Data Portal.