Why do we have collections?

The Australian Museum's mission is to use the vast collections it houses to research, interpret, communicate and apply understanding of the environments and cultures of the Australian region to increase their long-term sustainability. The collections provide a reference to the fauna, geology and cultural heritage of Australia and the region.

The Australian Museum specialises in taxonomic and systematic research. Taxonomy and systematics comprise the describing, naming and classifying of nature, and studying its origins and interrelationships. This type of research is essential for environmental assessments. It forms the basic building blocks of the study of nature, and is a key science on which many others depend.

The Australian Museum collections can be compared with libraries, but are made up of specimens and objects rather than books. Specimens and objects are regularly borrowed, studied and returned. Unlike libraries, the information from each new study is added to the records, enriching our knowledge and understanding of the objects and specimens in the collections.

Museum collections reduce the need for scientists to collect new specimens or objects when conducting research. This is especially important when research is focused on endangered or vulnerable species. The collections are of increasing importance in a changing world where our natural environments are being rapidly degraded.

Search our collections online here.

Brooke Carson-Ewart , Web Manager
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