Accessing the collections

The Natural History Museum has closed to the public and scientific visitors

We are no longer making research loans of NHM material and cannot receive returns of NHM material previously sent on research loan. NHM Science Group are no longer making requests for research loans and are not able to return material on research loan to the NHM until further notice. We are not able to provide digital surrogates of NHM material but existing digital resources will continue to be available from and our Library and Archives can be explored here.

We are not able to accept any requests for future loans or digital surrogates until further notice.

Please do not ship any collections material (including loans, donations and enquiries) to the Museum until further notice.  

We are no longer sending or accepting requests for exhibition loans. Our Registrar team have contacted those lenders whose requests have been submitted and are opening in 2020. 

We appreciate that this will impact the users of our collections but the welfare of our staff, collections users and the collections is of paramount importance to us. 

Please get in touch if you need any additional information about our collections, for research questions the best point of contact will be individual staff or the relevant Head of Collections whose details can be found here. If you have any questions regarding exhibition loans please contact the Registrar's Office at

We will update these pages as to when we will be allowing scientific visitors into the collections, accepting collections material and resuming lending as new information becomes available. 

Over 10,000 scientists, students and collections management specialists visit the Museum's collections every year.

Visiting the collections

Visitors to the collections are generally scientific professionals with research interests who are admitted by appointment only.

Most visitors to the collections are scientific professionals with research interests such as visiting scientists, research students and collections management specialists wishing to visit the Earth or Life Sciences Collections, Library and Archives or Core Research Laboratories.

Access to the Museum's collections may also be granted to volunteer workers, responsible members of natural history organisations and private citizens with a demonstrable academic interest in our collections.

We regret that research access is not provided to anyone under the age of 18. 

Any questions?

If you have any questions about accessing the collections for research purposes please contact the appropriate collections manager or curator.

Visitor information


Collections material may be borrowed for display, scientific research purposes or as part of a touring exhibition, subject to certain conditions.

Collections online

Take a look at our online collections to see if we have the specimens you need.