The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin collections – containing more than 30 million specimens – represent a research infrastructure of worldwide importance. They are not only used just for the Museum‘s own research activities, but also by external researchers and many other user groups. Every year hundreds of scientists from all over the world visit the Museum‘s collections to study this remarkable body of reference material. The specimens in the collection also represent a unique cultural asset and basis for transferring knowledge in diverse fields. Preserving these collections that are used by so many and ensuring that they are used efficiently and developed for the future is a major challenge. This is what the Museum’s Science Programme Collection Development and Biodiversity is here to address. In order to fulfil the tasks outlined above and more, the Science Programme is increasingly exploring new avenues towards intelligent collection management. Accordingly, it is subdivided into three departments: Collection Development, Centre of Collections and Biodiversity Discovery.
The Collection Development department looks at safeguarding and developing the Museum’s comprehensive collections in the long term in the best possible way. On the basis of a professional, scientifically supported collection management that complies with international standards, the collections are being developed as a globally available infrastructure that will meet the present and future needs of science and society.
The most important asset in professional collection management is well-trained staff. Only they can ensure that the collection items, in particular delicate and fragile specimens, are looked after appropriately and effectively. The Centre of Collections Department therefore focuses on preservation issues and problems, bringing together specific expertise in a knowledge pool and building a training and development programme.
The Biodiversity Discovery Department is dedicated to the effective and efficient categorization and description of life on Earth. It implements strategic and forward-looking objectives that have been clearly defined in the position paper by the Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina on „Herausforderungen und Chancen der integrativen Taxonomie für Forschung und Gesellschaft. Taxonomische Forschung im Zeitalter der ‚OMICS‘-Technologien“ (Challenges and Opportunities of integrative Taxonomy for Research and Society in the Age of OMICS Technologies).