San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego Natural History Museum: Collections Care & Conservation]

Who uses the specimens?

Scientists
Teachers and Museum Docents
Artists
You do!

Paleontologist Tom Demere examining specimens, photo by B.Ross

Caring for Collections

Scientists collect samples of the natural world to try to answer questions about our environment.

  • What species define the natural community of a wetland?
  • How do plants and animals interact within a desert community?
  • What distinguishes one species of cactus from another?
  • How do changes in the watershed affect the kinds of plants and animals that live there?
  • Where do bears live in California?

So many questions and so much we still don't know. The samples collected each represent a particular time and place in our environment.

Think about your home. If a scientist had collected the plants and insects from your land 50 years ago, would they be the same or different than ones you would find today?

The collected samples are the basic tool for the scientist's research and discovery. A museum specimen is made from the collected sample. We prepare them for study and add them to the research collections. Then they are ready to be used by scientists, not only this year, but for years, even generations to come.

Teachers, artists, and you
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Collections | Caring for Collections | BRCC