Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s Natural History collection is made up of about 650,000 specimens including taxidermy, skeletal material, shells, pinned invertebrates, pickled specimens and beautifully preserved pressed plants.

These are complemented by a rare books library, field note books, archive documents and photographs.

Built up by donations from local people, curators, and groups including the University of Bristol and Bristol Naturalists’ Society, the collection represents the wildlife found in Bristol and the South West of England over the last 200 years. Specimens from around the world reflect Bristol’s history of trade and exploration, including many from Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Only 5-10% of the collection is on display. The rest forms a research collection comprising approximately: 400,000 insects; 150,000 shells; 55,000 plants; 30,000 birds; 5,000 birds eggs; 2,000 mammals. 

The collection is used daily by researchers, artists, students, scientists and television production companies.

Browse the Biology collection