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Collection Care Laboratories

Morphologische Untersuchungen in den Sammlungspflege-Laboren des Museums für Naturkunde Berlin. Foto: Hwa Ja Götz/Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

The collection care laboratories at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin are open to students and researchers of the museum, technical staff, as well as national and international guest researchers. They provide lab space to staff and guests to work on and examine specimens from our own collections, and objects lent from other institutions. The work of the technical staff mainly focuses on digitization and preservation of the historical wet collections, some objects are 300-years-old, the preparation of new acquisitions and loan requests.

The state-of-the art laboratory equipment allows for working conditions in agreement with all national health and safety regulations; i.e. the safe handling of hazardous biological and chemical substances, including highly inflammable liquids, or contaminated collection items. Apart from collection related working activities, the laboratories are frequently used for research, e.g. taxonomic investigations, comparative morphological studies, and preservation research. The shipment of dangerous loans is here prepared as well, the laboratories thus forming an integral infrastructure of the museum.


  • Collection assessment and maintenance
  • Preservation research
  • Comparative morphological studies


  • 6 workstations for stereomicroscopy
  • 2 workstations with Leica Microtom VT1200S
  • 1 repro system for photographic work
  • Film sealing device for the preparation of loans


Scientific comparative studies:

  • Barej, M.F., Schmitz, A., Günther, R., Loader, S.P., Mahlow, K., Rödel, M.-O. (2014): The first endemic West African vertebrate family – a new anuran family highlighting the uniqueness of the Upper Guinean biodiversity hotspot. Frontiers in Zoology, 11, 8 doi:10.1186/1742-9994-11-8
  • Schätti, B., Tillack, F. & Kucharzewski, C. (2014): Platyceps rhodorachis (Jan, 1863) – a study of the racer genus Platyceps Blyth, 1860 east of the Tigris (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae). Vertebrate Zoology, Dresden, 64(3): 297–405.

Preservation Research:

  • Neuhaus, B., Allspach, A., Bartsch, P., Burckhardt, P., Colemann, C.O., Fries, I. Fuchs, R., Gudo, M., Kotrba, M., Mentjes, M., Moore, S., Neumann, D., Oberer, C., Potthast, A., Riedel, J., Rudolf, R., Schnalke, T., Schönbohm, D., Schuda, M., van Dam, A. & Widulin, N. (2012): KUR-Project: Development and public communication of science-based collection management for natural history collections. Final Report and Project Documentation Kulturstiftungen des Bundes und der Länder, 32 pp.


  • Labels in wet collections: Problems and solutions (2011)
  • Closure techniques for jars in wet collections (2016)
  • Shipment of collection material as dangerous goods in accordance with international guidelines (ongoing)