Unlocking the information of the zoological collections

As a child, pupil, parent or nature lover, we have all admired rare animals, outlandish plants, or mysterious minerals displayed in museums. But do you know that the collections kept in museums are also of great importance to science?

citizen science

Museum collections contain the first described species of animals and plants, which serve as an important reference for taxonomists. Ensuring that these specimens (types) are kept in good condition and made available for examination by scientists are two important functions of museums.

The AfricaMuseum has important collections of type specimens and the launch of a citizen science project on data enrichment by label transcription will reveal these to a wider audience and help enlarge our collection of digital specimens available through Virtual collection.


  • Cresco

    CRESCO – Citizen Rescuers for Collections

    Become a Citizen Rescuer for the biology collections! 

    Come join us on a journey of discovery and help us preserve our biology collections by contributing to research, from home or inside the museum. You can help by transcribing and annotating labels of insects, by preparing wood samples or by cleaning and photographing bird specimens. Become a Citizen Rescuer and dive into the extraordinary world of the Institute of Natural Sciences and the AfricaMuseum!  

  • Bird Register

    Registers of the bird collection

    Help transcribing the registers of our bird collection to enrich our databases!

    We manage a collection of over 150,000 bird specimens, including flat-skins, specimens preserved in alcohol, mounted specimen and skeletons, but also eggs, bird nests etc. Almost all specimens were collected in Africa.
    Approximately 250 species and sub-species of birds are represented by type specimens, i.e. specimens that were used for the description of species.
    The first bird specimen in our ornithology collection dates back to 1897, but written bird registers were only started in the years 1910-1920, when Belgian zoologist Henri Schouteden started working at the scientific services of the museum.  
    These registers have been digitized because they contain valuable information about our bird collection (localities, collectors, special observations, …), which can be added to our digital databases and thus improve collection management and serve scientific research.

  • Odonate collection

    The Odonate collection

    Project complete!

    Odonata is an order of flying insects that includes the dragonflies and damselflies. The project includes 130 images of type specimens with labels. Volunteers are invited to transcribe those labels, meaning they add all type of information written on the label (taxon name, collector, year of collection, determination information)  into a corresponding field to enrich the databases.

  • Help transcribing the original labels on the specimens of the Lepidoptera collection to enrich our databases! Project complete!

    The Lepidoptera collection

    Project complete!

    The collection of the Royal Museum for Central Africa contains about 240,000 butterflies and about 230,000 moths. This citizen science project aims to open it up to a wider audience. Citizen scientists are invited to enrich the databases by transcribing the useful information on the labels of the specimens.