Digital collections programme

Programme summary

To digitise 80 million specimens from one of the world's most important natural history collections

Mobilising the world’s natural history collections to help people and the planet thrive

The Museum's Digital Collections Programme was initiated in 2014 to digitise and release data about the 80 million items in our collection.

Natural history collections hold critical information necessary to tackle fundamental scientific and societal challenges of our time.

From conserving the biodiversity on which our wellbeing and our planet’s health depend, to finding new ways of combating disease and extracting mineral resources.

At present this information is locked away within hundreds of millions of specimens, labels and archives distributed across the globe, available to just a handful of scientists.

We want to unlock this treasure trove of information so that citizen scientists, researchers and data analysts from all over the world can access it. 


Digital Collections blog

With 80 million specimens to digitise, we have 80 million stories to share

How do we digitise?

The Museum's Data Portal gives the world digital access to the Museum’s collection data and research datasets.

Digital Collection

We are digitising 80 million specimens from our collections to an online data portal.

Diversity and informatics research

Researching undiscovered diversity using big data.


The Museum's 80 million specimens form the world's most important natural history collection.