The life and earth science collections of the Museum comprise some 70 million specimens. The collections cover virtually all groups of animals, plants, minerals and fossils. They represent the natural variation that exists within and between groups. The foundation collections were those of Sir Hans Sloane, which formed the basis of the British Museum in 1753.
Many, but not all, of our collections are detailed online. We are adding departmental specimen databases gradually, in a project due to be completed in 2009. This search form searches the name and type of each collection that we currently have online - it does not search the contents of each collection. Use the form below to search by keyword and/or department, or browse by department.