What do the collections contain?

It is estimated that, in total, the Australian Museum collections contain in excess of 16 million cultural objects and specimens of animals, fossils and minerals which represent a readily accessible portion of our world.

Specimens are natural objects, such as minerals, animals and fossils which form part of an organised collection.

Cultural objects are items that have been made by people for a particular use. These include domestic, trade, ceremonial and artistic objects.

Each specimen and object has a label which holds essential information, including the date and location of its collection and the name of its collector. The label has a unique registration number which is used to keep track of the specimen or object and its associated information. This information, or data, is then entered into an electronic database.

Without these data, the scientific and cultural value of each specimen or object would be greatly reduced. Data give an insight into a cultural object's affiliation and use, or records the environment and circumstances in which a specimen was collected. Without this contextual information a meaningful study of the object or specimen can be very difficult.


Brooke Carson-Ewart , Web Manager
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