The NHP natural history collections have a nearly a 200-year-history. The majority of the collections are housed at a single location on the outskirts of Prague conveniently accessible by public transport. Our collections comprise almost 15 million specimens representing variability of Life and Earth history with special emphasis on the Central European region.
Collections and Expertise
NMP collections represent a diverse selection of organisms, fossils, minerals, wet collections, frozen tissues, DNA samples and slides. They are particularly focused on central European nature and geology but also cover tropical regions, particularly South America and Australasia. The collections are organised into seven core collections reflecting the primary scientific disciplines (anthropology, botany, entomology, mineralogy and petrology, mycology, palaeontology and zoology). Several special collections are unique globally (e.g. Sternberg’s Fossil Plant Collection, Barrande’s Palaeontological Collection).
|Department||Collection highlights and staff expertise|
|Anthropology||skeletal remains of past populations dating from Neolithic period to Modern Age (~25,000 skeletons) comparative material of skeletal pathological changes and aberrations (~6,000 specimens from 19th and 20th century)records of phylogenetic evolution of primates and humans – collection of paleoanthropological finds and casts includes e.g. travertine cast of Neanderthal skull from Ganovce localitycollection of death-masks, skull and hand casts of notable personalities (e.g. T. G. Masaryk)|
|Botany||~2 million species of vascular plants, bryophytes and algaelarge and unique collections from Central Europe, Balkan, Middle East region, Mongolia and former Soviet Union region|
|Entomology||~6 million of insect specimens including ~ 4.5 million of beetles (order Coleoptera)historical collections containing many primary types (e.g., Balthasar collection of Scarabeoidea, Obenberger collection of Buprestidae, Achard and Bechyně collections of Chrysomelidae)material collected during the recent expeditions (Arabian Peninsula and Socotra, SE Asia, New Zealand, Neotropical Region)|
|Mineralogy and Petrology||more than 100,000 mineral specimens of more than 2,100 species from the whole worldunique collection of gemstones (~8,000 specimens)large collection of tektites (~20,000 specimens of moldavites from the Czech Republic), more than 500 meteorite specimens~30,000 rock samples and 21,000 thin-sections mostly representing geology of the Czech Republic|
|Mycology||~500,000 specimens of fungi and lichens mostly from Central Europe|
|Palaeontology||~5 million specimens, out of which 20,000 are type specimens including the unique Sternberg’s, Barrande’s and Frič’s collectionscollection is centred to Bohemian Massif and Central Europe|
|Zoology||~1.1 million specimens (approximately 140,000 are vertebrates) from the whole world, large collections from Europe and Mediterranean regionvaluable collection of extinct species (at least 15 species), rare taxa and especially type material (types of around 250 species with roughly 1,000 type specimens in the invertebrate collection and 80 species with almost 350 specimens in the vertebrates)|
Analytical facilities and services
Molecular Biology Unit focuses on the study of diversity and evolutionary history of various organisms, primarily vertebrates, using analysis of DNA sequences. The Laboratory is fully equipped by the state-of-the-art instruments and facilities capable to carry out DNA extraction from tissue samples, PCR amplification and purification. Using the methods of molecular taxonomy and DNA bar-coding, the laboratory serves for identification of various biotic materials, including material from museum collections, which is difficult to identify by conventional methods. Several thousands of samples are processed in the laboratory every year. The laboratory also provides expert advisory service in this research field. Large collection of tissues of a great variety of organisms (animals, plants, fungi) is available for molecular genetic studies in NMP.
Analytical and Imaging Facility (AIF) encompasses high quality analytical instruments: high-resolution, low-voltage and environmental scanning electron microscope with unique large chamber; electron probe microanalysis with 5 analysers, EDAX; X-ray analyzer; X-ray fluorescence analysis; high quality digital microscopy.
For a full list of the equipment that Users can apply to use, click here.
Information Technology and Access
All Users will be able to bring personal laptops and connect to the museum intranet. NMP is involved in BHL – Europe which to date has provided over 35 million digitised pages of literature to support multiple bioinformatics initiatives and research.
Research supported by the infrastructure
- taxonomy, phylogenetics and phylogeography of various faunal groups (amphibians, reptiles) based on DNA analyses
- research of diversity, taxonomy and phylogeny of selected insect groups (Heteroptera, Trichoptera, empidoid and cyclorrhaphan Diptera, symphytan Hymenoptera, Coleoptera: aquatic beetles, Buprestoidea, Cantharoidea).
- analysis of prehistoric and medieval human populations of Central Europe
- studies on evolution of plants, particularly angiosperms, the oldest representatives of monocotyledons (Araceae, Arecaceae, Pandanaceae), the oldest land plants – Cooksonia, and evolution of Sphenophyta
- evolution of various faunal groups (Palaeozoic cephalopods, Cretaceous brachiopods, cephalopods, fish, evolution of Bryozoa)
- integrated Silurian and Devonian stratigraphy
- analysis of various mineral groups as sulfides, tellurides, arsenides and sulfosalts from the Czech Republic