Over the past 120 years, the Museum’s world renowned scientists have acquired 25 million items telling the full story of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. These items include cultural objects and biological specimens.
The Museum preserves and conserves over two 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. The cultural collections include Archaeology, Ethnology and Library and Archives. These collections also include more than 115,000 historical publications, one million historical photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings and manuscripts.
The Museum cares for and maintains significant research collections related to the biodiversity of the Pacific Basin. The majority of our biological collections are the most comprehensive in the world for Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia and Southeast Asia. Much of the information on the past and present distribution of species contained in these collections is available nowhere else. The six biological collections house over 22 million specimens and include plants and algae; insects, spiders and their relatives; fishes; mollusks; marine invertebrates; and mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Bishop Museum’s combined collections of biological specimens, library of published and unpublished biological documents, field notes, biodiversity databases, and staff expertise make it an unparalleled source of knowledge on the biology of the Pacific Basin.