Collections status as of 26 March 2021
Due to the pandemic, most regular collections activity is suspended or significantly restricted. Our collections staff are combining on-site and remote work and can answer questions about our holdings via e-mail. You can also browse or search some of our collections online through our Digitized Collections page or through Calisphere, iDigBio, GBIF, VertNet, and other resources. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if your questions about the current status of our collections are not answered below.
Visitors: The collections at NHM and La Brea Tar Pits are open to visitors, but with significant limitations given restrictions on staff working on-site and the number of people that can work in proximity. Please contact a collections manager or curator in your area of interest to find out whether that department is currently able to host any visitors. All collections visitors must follow the museum's safety protocols. Visitors must also follow any travel restrictions for Los Angeles County, which currently include a 10-day self-quarantine for those who have traveled from outside California.
We know that this is inconvenient and that restrictions on collections access may cause delays for existing and planned research. Please contact a collections manager or curator in your area of interest if you are concerned about our closure affecting your research, especially if you are a student or postdoc with a degree or project deadline that cannot be extended. We may be able to provide options other than an in-person visit.
Loans: Collections loan activity is extremely limited. We are currently able to make some outgoing loans, when we are satisfied that we can do so without compromising the safety of our staff or the preservation and security of our collections. Please contact a collections manager or curator to find out whether your department of interest is processing loans. If you request a loan, expect additional questions and restrictions depending on the status of operations at your institution, such as how packages are being received and distributed. Our priority for loans is to support students, postdocs, and others with a degree completion deadline or other time-sensitive project.
Please do not ship any collections material to us unless you have been specifically directed to do so by a registrar or collections manager. This includes new loans from your collection and returns of loans from our collection. We cannot guarantee that appropriate staff will be on-site to process incoming material that arrives without advance notice.
About our collections
We support our own and the rest of the world’s scholars by building and preserving an archive of objects, artifacts, and specimens from the natural world and human cultures, across the whole globe and from the present to billions of years ago. Our collections support current research and await future research uses no one has even thought of yet.
Sometimes we also use these objects, artifacts, and specimens in support of exhibitions and public programming, and visitors can see some of them on display, but those are not the primary purpose for the research collection. It is an ever-growing record of nature and culture for anyone to use to better understand our world.
Our Ichthyology (Fishes) collection recently added about 500 specimens collected by curator Bill Ludt in southern Louisiana in 2020. We previously had very few specimens from this area, and some of these species were not in our collection at all. Field trips like this one are an important way we continue to build and enhance our collections.
Photo by Todd Clardy
This is a late Cretaceous ammonite in the family Tetragonitidae from the Tumey Hills area of Fresno Co., California. It was collected on a joint field expedition by staff from Invertebrate Paleontology, Vertebrate Paleontology, and the Dinosaur Institute to the same area where our state dinosaur, Augustynolophus, is from.
Photo by Lindsay Walker
This photo is one of a longer series of Los Angeles photographs donated to our History department by photograph Gary Leonard. It shows skill workers installing conduit within the reinforcing steelwork for a concrete column for the new Sixth Street Bridge in January 2016. See more photos from this series here.
Photo by Gary Leonard.
This ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) was recently added to our Mammalogy collection after being salvaged as roadkill on State Route 39 near the San Gabriel Reservoir. Salvage is one important way we develop our collection of local species.
Photo by Shannen Robson
Photo by KT Hajeian
This Australian White-Lipped Tree Frog is one of 36 pieces recently donated to NHM by sculptor Lu Huan Wang. Read more here!
1 of 1