Parts of the collection date back to the beginning of the museum, the time of the “Kunst- und Naturalienkabinett” in the 18th century, or even further back to the 17th century. The collection experienced its biggest growth in the 19th and 20th century. Nowadays, the museum focuses on regional findings in the area of southeast Lower Saxony. The historical collections, in particular, are of great academic importance, as they provide information on the state of nature long ago.
Furthermore, the collection includes numerous and likely still undiscovered types. Types are the original specimen a species is described by and have to be permanently available for scientific research. A remarkable new addition were three type specimens of the new species Polyplacotoma mediterranea, which has been described by the scientists of the “Tierärztliche Hochschule” and were consigned to the museum in 2018. Polyplacotoma mediterranea belongs to the Placozoa, primordial multicellular organisms that little research has been done on yet.
Our collection of insects focuses on the region of southeast Lower Saxony and was primarily acquired in the 20th century. In addition to the 110,000 butterflies and 85,000 beetles, the collection also includes specimens of the remaining insect groups as well as numerous insect nests.
The collection of mollusks contains about 115,000 specimens. They date back to the beginning of the ducal “Kunst- und Naturaliensammlung”. Hence, beautifully embellished mussel- and nautilus shells from the 17th century can still be found here. Most pieces have been added in the 19th and 20th century. The specimens of local mollusks were mainly collected by Victor von Koch (1840-1915), who paved the way for the study of mollusks in Lower Saxony.
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Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum