San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego Natural History Museum: Collections Care & Conservation]
Why do we want to make specimens last forever?

Because of their value!
Because they are unique—and a limited resource!
Because of the costs involved with acquiring a specimen!

herbarium specimen sheet from 1881 label from specimen collected in 1881 Calochortus albus collected June 14, 1881, at Cuyamaca by Daniel Cleveland

Caring for Collections

Because they are unique--and a limited resource!

Each specimen is unique and can never truly be replaced. Each is collected at a single point in time, from a specific geographic location, and has a unique genetic or geologic history.


Has your neighborhood changed since you were born? Or since your parents or grandparents moved here?

Most neighborhoods have changed a great deal. More houses and stores have been built, more roads have been developed.

When the first San Diegans collected plants and animals in the late 1870s, there weren't any roads or houses or stores--just natural lands. So their collections were different than what you find in your neighborhood today.

If we destroy a plant or animal specimen collected in 1881, we can never replace that specimen!

label from bat collected in 1895

Label from bat, Myotis californicus californicus, female, collected by Frank Stephens, September 5, 1895, at Witch Creek, San Diego County, California

Because of the costs involved with acquiring a specimen!
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Collections | Caring for Collections | BRCC