The Horniman Natural History Collections cover the entire range of natural science areas: zoology, botany, physical anthropology, paleontology and physical geology. The entire holdings amount to over 250,000 specimens. The wide nature of the collections forms a valuable link with the educational objectives of the Museum, enabling the examination of broad, global themes in evolution and ecology.
The earlier, eclectic, acquisition policy brought together teaching materials broadly comparable in form and content with those of the larger University museums. More recently, there has been a change in emphasis towards the accumulation of material to fill gaps in areas little covered by other museums, particularly in entomology.
The Horniman's collection contains valuable examples of rare fossils and animals collected from various parts of the world. Scientific research is actively undertaken on the collection, both by Museum staff and other specialists.