The Museum has over seven million historical and modern specimens encompassing the natural world. They include five million insects; over half a million fossils, rocks and minerals; and over 250,000 zoological specimens. There is also a library of around 20,000 books and an archive containing approximately half a million manuscripts. 

The Main Court of the Museum will be transformed in 2021/2, with the large showcases replaced and beautiful new displays installed. During this time some displays will move or be removed, with some areas of the court temporarily inaccessible. Museum opening hours will remain as normal, daily from 10am to 5pm. Read more on the Life, As We Know It project information page.

Object identification


The Museum offers a free object identification service. Please check in advance before bringing any live specimens to the Museum, as there are legal restrictions on what can and can't be brought into the Museum. 

If you are uncertain whether there is a legal restriction on your item please call or email us in advance to check.

We received the photo on the right, and our experts identified it as an elephant hawk caterpillar. 

You can also find out more about insect identification, and try your hand at identifying a particular insect for yourself here.

Email our experts in palaentology, minerology and petrology at

Email our experts in zoology (including entomology) at

Telephone: 01865 272 950

Deilephila elpenor with head retracted