Skip to main content

A Collection Opens: Live Digitization of Insects in the Exhibition

Register for press mailing list

Please note that only people who register using our registration form receive our press releases.

Unser neues Poster mit den wunderschönen Prachtkäfern entstand aus dem Kultur-Hackathon Coding Da Vinci.
Press release,

Society must face up to digitisation. The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin takes its global responsibility seriously and digitizes its collections. In order to make them available worldwide around the clock, the objects are systematically digitized and made available online. Currently, the entire hymenoptera collection (bees, wasps and ants) is being processed and catalogued in the exhibition area, giving visitors a direct insight into the collection work at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

The digitalization street is publicly accessible from Tuesday to Sunday between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

The collection of the Hymenoptera, with 2.3 million specimens, is one of the most object-rich entomological collections of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. In the discussion about the current loss of biodiversity, bees, which are in the public eye as pollinators, play a prominent role. In addition, they have become a kind of symbolic animal for insect mortality. Social and other wasps are being discussed as cultural followers and pests.

For historical reasons, the collection of hymenoptera is predominantly in a physical state that does not at all correspond to modern conservation standards. The entire hymenoptera collection will be processed and catalogued in the exhibition area, giving visitors a direct insight into the collection work at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

The collection of bees, wasps and ants will be repositioned in the coming years, with the animals being transferred to storage systems that meet the highest conservation standards. At the same time, scientific research will be carried out to clarify the validity of one species and to classify the collection according to the latest nomenclature.

In order to make the collection available worldwide around the clock, the individual animals are systematically digitised and made available online. The existing analogue documentation is transferred to databases and digital images are produced in 2D and 3D. At the same time, the room serves as a laboratory for testing new and innovative digitisation methods, which make it possible to digitise large quantities of collection objects in a timely and cost-effective manner.


Basic information on the collection of hymenoptera:

The collection of the Hymenoptera hymenoptera with 2.3 million specimens is one of the entomological collections of the MfN with the highest number of objects. The approximately 2,277,880 specimens are mainly needled dry material, which also contains 11,400 types. The total stock consists of about 235,000 species. In addition there are: 238 nests, 1100 leaves with mines and gall, 10000 larvae, 2200 cocoons, 28000 microscopic specimens and 125000 objects stored in alcohol.

The hymenoptera and net-winged insects belong to the four most species-rich insect orders, along with the beetles, butterflies and two-winged insects. Similarly diverse is their way of life as pollinators, herbivores, parasitoids or predators. The Imagines, the adult animals, live alone or form seasonal states such as bumblebees or certain wrinkled wasp species. States that have existed for several years are known from honey bees and ants.

Information about the picture:

Posterdesign Michael Scheuerl in cooperation with Mediasphere For Nature, the poster is available in the museumsshop.