The natural sciences collection contains around 300,000 specimens including preserved plants, animals, insects and geological samples, mostly collected over the last 150 years. They mainly relate to Hampshire although, there are some specimens from across the country and abroad, including a well-preserved set of Dodo bones.

  • Bones
  • Hedgehog
  • Squirrel
  • Bone
  • Butterflies
  • Fossil
  • Bird

Geology

The geology collection contains over 30,000 rocks, minerals and fossils which were found mainly across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The fossil collection comprises animal, fish and plant specimens dating back over 200 million years, found in both marine and terrestrial deposits. The rock and mineral collection contains numerous crystalized rock specimens of stratigraphic and regional significance.

The collection contains material from William Curtis, Herbert Druitt, George Willis and Reginald Hooley, which include Quaternary mammals, Palaeogene molluscs, particularly from Barton on Sea, and Late Cretaceous echinoderms from various Hampshire Chalk localities. Other collections made by these individuals include an important collection of silicified molluscs from the Cretaceous of Devon and Early Jurassic Cephalopods from Dorset and Yorkshire.

The geology collection is used as an aid to inform people about important issues relating to the biodiversity and geological history of Hampshire and the complex biological and geological processes involved. The geology collection is used extensively by individual researchers, universities and organisations for scientific research and training.

More recent collections and individual specimens obtained by the Hampshire Cultural Trust continue to provide new, previously unrecorded information on the geology of Hampshire, including new localities, abundance, diversity, distribution and preservation of the fossil faunas.

Invertebrates

The insect collection contains over 120,000 specimens and represents over two thirds of species so far recorded in the United Kingdom.  The collection is acknowledged as an important regional resource for reference and scientific study. Many families in the major orders of British insects are represented in the collection which include beetles, flies, bees, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, bugs, dragonflies and grasshoppers.

The British insect collection is based on the individual collections of K G Blair, R J Dickson, A Dobson, C H Dixon, B Goater, S J Grove, P Holloway, I R Hudson, J F Marshall, E Neal, B J Pinchen, G B Prior, H D Swain and others. There are also regular deposits of voucher material by researchers undertaking entomological surveys within Hampshire.

More than 1,150 fluid-preserved British spiders with data make up the collection. As yet the collection has not been fully analysed and we are unsure how many of the 600 or so British species are present.

A relatively small collection of mostly spirit preserved British marine, freshwater and terrestrial invertebrates. Crustaceans (crabs and shrimps), echinoderms (sea urchins and& starfish), myriapods (centipedes and millipedes), coelenterates (sea anemonies, corals, hydroids and jellyfish), tunicates (sea squirts) and annelids (worms) are all represented. Most of the material has been collected by museum staff. The R Wells collection of marine invertebrates is the only named collection.

Invertebrate specimens with good supporting data provide evidence for the occurrence of a species at a particular place and time. These specimens can tell us about the environment at this time and thus may provide important data for long-term analysis.

Vertebrates

The vertebrate collection cared for by the Hampshire Cultural Trust contains just over 200 mammals, 30 reptile, 70 fish and 5000 bird and egg specimens. The collection contains significant specimens such as the bones from a dodo, found by George Clark, at La Mare aux Songes, Mahebourg, Mauritius, 1865 and a guillemot uria aalge, which was shot by James Edward, second Earl of Malmesbury, under the Needles, Isle of Wight in the summer of 1810.

Many of the specimens are preserved through mounted taxidermy, study skins and in spirit jars. The best specimens are those collected and preserved by Edward Hart of Christchurch, Dorset, William Chalkley of Winchester, Peter Spicer of Leamington Spa, and two London based taxidermists - Rowland Ward and John Gould.

Vertebrate specimens with good supporting data provide evidence for the occurrence of a species at a particular place and time.

Plants and fungi

The botany or herbarium collection consists of more than 27,000 specimens, principally collected from across the historic county of Hampshire and further afield. The collection is fairly comprehensive with certain groups, namely mosses and flowering plants which are particularly well represented. Although most material was collected during the 20th century, there is a significant number of 19th century specimens and, remarkably, a preserved herbarium specimen of Ling (Calluna vulgaris) has survived since 1737.

The collection includes the herbaria collected by W A Bromfield, A W Westrup, N E G Cruttwell, F Rose, D E Allen, E Rothwell and R P Bowman; the Hart, Malmsbury and Crowley, which are of more than local significance.

The fungi collection consists of over 2,100 freeze-dried specimens. The overwhelming majority of these specimens were collected from across Hampshire, with some collected from national and international sources.


Objects from our Natural Sciences collection are on display in some of our museums across the county. We also make the collection housed in our museum stores accessible by appointment. Our online database shows a selection of objects, some of which aren’t ordinarily on permanent display.

Where to find a selection of these items

Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age, 6 Church Close, Andover SP10 1DP
Curtis Museum, High Street, Alton GU34 1BA
West Street, Fareham PO16 0JJ