The Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona is an institution with more than 130 years of history that preserves a heritage of more than three million specimens in the fields of mineralogy, petrology, paleontology, zoology and botany.

This valuable collection has been enriched year after year with specimens obtained thanks to donations from individuals, agreements with the Parc Zoològic and the natural parks of Catalonia and also with the Museum’s own research.

The venues of the Museum:

The Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona is distributed in different locations located in three strategic areas of the city: Ciutadella Park, Montjuïc Mountain and Fòrum Park.

The Museu Martorell and the Laboratori de Natura are located in the former in the Castell dels Tres Dragons building, while in Montjuïc there are the Jardí Botànic and the Jardí Botànic Històric. The Museu Blau is located in the Parc del Fòrum, housing the new facilities intended mainly for public programmes: exhibitions, workshops, conferences, media library, etc.

Overall information

Museum Science Area

This comprises the Collections and Research departments and the Documentation Centre, and all the activities undertaken by them, that is, conservation, description and study of the natural and documentary heritage of their resources. In fact, everything that goes on at the Museum would be pointless were it not for its fundamental, primary purpose which is to safeguard and preserve that heritage.

The collections are kept in store and are preserved and studied by biologists and geologists who document them (taking inventory, cataloguing, computerising, and publishing databases) and make them available for the scientific community. They use the different laboratories –the preparation lab, the restoration and preventive conservation lab, and the technological lab– for these purposes.

The Museum participates in research projects with other public institutions such as the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones científicas) (Spanish National Research Council) and national and foreign universities, while also developing its own projects connected with the collections it holds and with objectives relating to the local territory.

The Documentation Centre places the information resources it administers at the disposal of the Museum experts and the public.

The Collections and Research

Examples of scientific and social studies in which the Museum collection is used:

Biodiversity and geodiversity: description of new species and review of known ones, both fossilised and current (taxonomic studies), naturalist inventories in specific geographical spheres, follow-up of changes over time, variability indicators, etc.

Evolution and behaviour: studies on feather colouration, phylogeny (anatomical and genetic comparisons in related species), laryngeal analysis for studying sounds, etc.

Biochemistry, genetics: studies on the historical effects of pesticides, effects of contamination, polymorphisms, phylogenies, etc.

(Palaeo)environment and (palaeo)climate studies: researchers in ecology, the environment and climate change need to study specimens, including fossils, that are conserved in museums.

Biostratigraphy studies: through studying the distribution of fossil species in the geological record we can ascertain the sedimentary environment, the age of the rocks that contain them, and so on, and thus reconstruct the geological and biological history of an area.

Petrology and mineralogy studies: description and identification of rocks and mineral species, analysis of the economic significance of the mineral deposits and the characteristics of their exploitation on an industrial scale.

Archaeology and ethnology: correct interpretation of the finds in archaeological deposits requires accurate identification of bones, shells, etc. The application of petrological analysis can determine the origin of lithic artefacts.

Historical and social studies: the history and documentation of specimens is a very valuable source of information for reconstructing the biography of naturalists or other professionals and, at the same time, is a decisive element in the history of natural sciences in Catalonia.

Social use

The Science Area (Laboratori de Natura, Nature Laboratory) is open to the scientific community and the collection is used constantly by teams of researchers from all over the world. It is also committed to serving the public, offering information and knowledge about our natural surroundings. With this aim in mind, it takes part in projects for popularising the natural sciences through the Museum’s public programmes.

Usage restrictions

appointmente is required

Access restrictions

Collection normatives of the Musems of Barcelona

Taxonomic coverage
Scientific names

algunos/as Protista.

Common names

principalmente animales, algunos/as plantas, algunos/as protozoos.

Geospatial coverage

principalmente Cataluña (España), algunos/as Península Ibérica, algunos/as resto del mundo.

Temporal location
Temporal coverage

algunos/as Cenozoico, algunos/as Mesozoico, algunos/as Paleozoico, algunos/as taxón existente.

Resources from the collection