Research & Collections
Over the past 120 years, the Museum’s world renowned scientists have acquired 24.7 million items telling the full story of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. These items include over 1.3 million cultural artifacts representing Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Hawai‘i immigrant life deriving from the museum’s rich legacy of research in Hawai‘i and the Pacific. They also include more than 115,000 historical publications, 1 million historical photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings and manuscripts.
Our Natural History collections consist of over 22.3 million specimens of plant and animal life (even including some that are extinct), and derive from a century-long history of explorations throughout all the Hawaiian Islands and the vast Pacific Ocean. They are the largest in the world for Hawai‘i and many of the south Pacific islands including New Guinea, and are some of the most important for other Pacific rim areas such as the Philippines and SE Asia.
The collections of Bishop Museum, ranking in the top 5 in the country, have been the source of thousands of publications describing tens of thousands of species newly discovered to science. Many of these scientific papers are published by Bishop Museum Press, and are continually being accessed by the public through Bishop Museum's Library and Archives as well as electronically via our online publications website.