The Natural Science collections held in museums across the world are important because they provide an invaluable scientific resource, a record of social activities and a means of getting close to objects that people would not normally see.
The biological and geological collections of The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery are used by researchers around the world in a variety of studies: genetic research (as plant and animal specimens contain DNA), the study of evolution (using fossil collections), research into rocks and minerals and as a means of establishing environmental change. In the past bird egg collections have been studied to determine the effects of pesticides on wild birds (by measuring the thickness of shells collected at different times) and a toe from the Potteries Museum’s water vole was used to establish relationships between populations of this endangered animal.
The Potteries Museum receives enquiries from scientists all over the world who are undertaking research. Many people arrange to visit special items in our collections and occasionally specimens are loaned to other organisations.
In total the Natural Science collections – plants, animals, fungi, rocks and fossils – number in the region of 150,000 specimens.