The South Australian Museum houses over five million specimens and material cultural items. These specimens and items provide irreplaceable records with which we are constantly building and modifying our knowledge and understanding of the natural and cultural world. They are a vital part of Australia’s national heritage and play an integral role in the international scientific and anthropological communities' endeavour to document our world.

Temporary closure

The Natural Sciences Collections of the South Australian Museum will be reducing services from now (October 2023), leading to a complete closure from late November 2023.  The closure is expected to last until mid-2024.

The staff of the Natural Sciences collections need this time for essential audit work, which unfortunately means we can no longer offer normal levels of service.  Services we will not be able to offer during this closure include: visits to collections, new donation/accessions of specimens, new loan requests, new registration number requests, tissue requests, and destructive analysis requests.

We will still accept loan returns.  Visitors with pre-existing bookings will be honoured.

Services will resume when collection audits are completed.

Collections affected by this suspension of services include: Marine Invertebrates, Terrestrial Invertebrates (including Arachnology and Entomology), Ichthyology, Herpetology, Mammalogy, Ornithology, Australian Biological Tissue Collection, Australian Helminth Collection, Palaeontology, and Mineralogy.

If you have further questions, please email


Please note the Museum is currently in the process of reviewing its collections development policy and plans and, as a result, is not accepting any donations of objects or items in the short-term. Should you wish to make a donation please contact us at, we will keep your details on record and contact you once we have completed our review. We appreciate that you may make alternative arrangements for your item or collection in the meantime.


Items from the Australian Aboriginal Cultures collection

McCartney bottles containing parasite specimens preserved in alcohol in the Parasitology Collection, one of nine collections in Biological Sciences.

Crocoite, a lead chromate, from the Dundas minerals field, Zeehan district, Tasmania, in the Mineral Sciences collection. The old mines are now worked solely for specimen minerals such as these.

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Research at the Museum