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Specimen Collections

For information about our paper-based research collections, please click HERE.

The Linnean Society holds several important 18th Century animal and plant collections - including some 40,000 original specimens from the collection of Carl Linnaeus purchased from the estate of the Society's first President, Sir James Edward Smith - as well as Smith's own plant and "carpological" collection.

The Society encourages access to these specimens for historical and scientific research. The preservation of the collections clearly always remains of primary importance and special notice is required to view these items

The Linnaean specimen collections comprise the specimens of plants, fish, shells and insects acquired from the widow of Carl Linnaeus in 1784 by Sir James Edward Smith.

Specimen Collections going digital

To provide worldwide online access to its priceless collections of specimens the Society has created a digital archive of specimen images which are kept alongside unique digitized paper-based material under the overall title of Online Collections of the Linnean Society.

The Society’s aim is to make available its primary research material in digital formats to support taxonomic and conservation efforts worldwide as well as for educational uses and for public enjoyment.

The Society’s Online Collections provide free open access to high-resolution, zoomable images for all Linnaean Specimen Collections: the Herbarium, the Insect, Fish & Shell Collections. The Smith Herbarium will be added by 2013. Related paper-based material such as the Linnaean Correspondence is also available, and will be complemented by scans of the Linnaean Annotated Library by 2013. The Buchanan-Hamilton drawings have just been added.