Calculating the Costs of Curating Specimens

Many publications have extolled the value of natural history collections, however few have calculated the cost of caring for scientific specimens.  A recent paper estimates the cost of incorporating specimens into a natural history collection and making them accessible to researchers and the public.

On average, it cost $17.51 per specimen for curation, installation, documentation, and databasing.  Long-term care is estimated to cost $0.25 per year per specimen.

“Door to Drawer: Costs of Curation, Installation, Documentation, Databasing, and Long-Term Care of Mammal Voucher Specimens in Natural History Collections” was authored by a team of researchers at the Natural Science Research Laboratory at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

The paper can be downloaded for free at