Above the galleries are millions of scientific specimens.

This museum contains some of the largest shell and bird collections in the country.

The specimens come from all over the world — and from the local region. As a whole, the scientific collection serves as a record of biodiversity on Earth. Our staff build, protect, and preserve our collections with the help of volunteers. Our scientists conduct a variety of research projects, and scientists from around the world also use our collections for their research. 

Explore the collections


113,000 bird specimens, including 36,000 egg clutches


More than two million mollusks, categorized into 250,000 lots.

Meet our scientists

Elizabeth Shea, Ph.D.

Director of Collections/ Curator of Mollusks

Alex Kittle

Senior Collections Manager, Mollusks

Matthew Halley, Ph.D.

Assistant Curator of Birds

Ashley Kempken

Collections Manager, Birds


Digitizing Natural History collections

For every animal or plant you see at a natural history museum, there are millions more behind the scenes.

Research Library & Archives

The Howard and Dede Brokaw Research Library & Archives in the Collections and Research Division includes more than 10,000 volumes with an emphasis on mollusks, birds, and Delmarva ecosystems.

Scientific Publications

The museum publishes a scientific journal, Nemouria: Occasional Publications of the Delaware Museum of Natural History.

Search the collections

The bird skin, skeleton, and tissue collections are fully databased and searchable online through the iDigBio, VertNet and GBIF.org. The mollusk collection is digitized on iDigBio and InvertEBase.