Natural Science Collections Alliance

Our members are part of an international community of museums, botanical gardens, herbariums, universities and other institutions that house natural science collections and utilize them in research, exhibitions, academic and informal science education, and outreach activities.

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

Calculating the Costs of Curating Specimens
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