Total number of objects in the Natural History Museum's collection

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Frankie Roberto

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to request the total number of objects that you hold in your permanent collections.

If an exact figure is not available, please provide instead your estimated total, along with an explanation as to how this figure was calculated.

Yours faithfully,

Frankie Roberto

P.S Please note that this same request has been made to all the UK museums covered under the Freedom of Information Act, and that your response will be automatically made public at This request is partly a test of the WhatDoTheyKnow project. If you have any questions about the project, you can contact the project team at

Freedom of Info, The Natural History Museum

Dear Mr Roberto

Thank you for your request for information on the total number of objects
in the collections of the Natural History Museum, received on 4 May 2008.

The estimated total of biological and geological specimens (ie in our
science collections) is currently 70.6 million.

This is arrived at by each relevant curator estimating the total amount of
specimens in their collections which the departments then collate to give
as a department total.

We also have a total of 5 million items in the Library and Archives which
give us a total holding of 75.6 million items for the entire Museum rather
than just the science collections.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to me in the first instance, or to the FOI Coordinator,
Museum Archives, Library & Information Services, Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Natural History Museum. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely
Polly Tucker
FOI Coordinator

Freedom of Info, The Natural History Museum

Dear Mr Roberto

May I request that in line with the other replies you have received from
museums, you only include my name and 'FOI Coordinator' in publishing
my reply on your website?

Many thanks
Polly Tucker

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Frankie Roberto

Dear Polly Tucker,

I'll pass your request on to the people who run the website. If you receive future requests via the website, you may want to alter your e-mail signature, as only e-mail addresses are currently hidden on the site.

Yours sincerely,

Frankie Roberto