Digital collections programme

Programme summary

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

We are 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 holds information we need 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  to combat disease and extract mineral resources.

At present this information is contained within hundreds of millions of specimens, labels and archives across the globe, yet only available to a handful of scientists.

We want to unlock this treasure trove so that everyone, including citizen scientists, researchers and data analysts, can access it. 


Digital Collections blog

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

How do we digitise?

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.