Identification guidelines

Our helpful and knowledgeable staff can answer your questions. Please choose the relevant section below for guidelines on how to get the item to us safely. This will help us to answer your question.

Insects and Spiders

Specimens or photos require locality, date and the name of the collector/photographer.

Ideally photos should include an object that shows scale (e.g. a ruler or coin).

Please take responsibility for your own safety. Don’t put yourself at risk of being bitten or stung and assume all unknown animals have the potential to harm you.

Sending insects or spiders to us:

  1. If your animal is alive and in a jar, you will need to kill it by leaving it in a freezer for at least a day.
  2. Unless it is a  hard-bodied insect that has already dried, you will need to prevent it rotting. Immerse it in methylated spirits for at least 2 days, then remove, and wrap in cotton wool.
  3. Place into a sturdy plastic container with a tight fitting lid (e.g. a small screw top plastic bottle).
  4. Place into a padded post bag, and include a letter that details what you want to know about the animal, locality, date, name of collector and details of how we may contact you; daytime phone numbers are appreciated.

Visiting us: Frequently we cannot identify your specimen immediately.  However we can give you an identification receipt and you can pick it up on a return visit, after it has been identified.

Fossils and Geological Specimens

Specimens or photos require locality, date and the name of the collector/photographer plus any information on if and how it may have been moved.  The original context of a specimen can be an important aid to identification.

Ideally photos should include an object that shows scale (e.g. a ruler or coin).

Sending Fossils or geological specimens to us:

Place specimen into a padded post bag, and include a letter that details what you want to know about it, locality, date, name of collector and details of how we may contact you; daytime phone numbers are appreciated. Please note that we do not return geological specimens by post

Visiting us: Frequently we cannot identify your specimen immediately.  However we can give you an identification receipt and you can pick it up on a return visit, after it has been identified.

Mammals, Birds, Reptiles or Fish

Specimens or photos require locality, date and the name of the collector/photographer.

Ideally photos should include an object that shows scale (e.g. a ruler or coin).

Please take responsibility for your own safety. Don’t put yourself at risk of being bitten or stung and assume all unknown animals have the potential to harm you.

If you have a freshly dead vertebrate animal, place it in a well sealed bag including a note of the date, locality and then into your freezer. Once the specimen has frozen hard, place it in an esky and bring to the Inquiry Centre at the Queensland Museum South Bank. The Queensland Museum will generally accept any donated vertebrate specimens for inclusion in our collections as long as it is in good condition and has collection data.

Sending mammals, birds, reptiles or fish specimens to us:

  • Only send frozen specimens and only by rapid courier service. We would need to know in advance if you are sending something. 
  • We are almost never able to make house calls to pick up specimens however if you believe you have something very rare or unusual we may be able to make special arrangements. Please contact us to discuss.

Visiting us: Frequently we cannot identify your specimen immediately.  However we can give you an identification receipt and you can pick it up on a return visit, after it has been identified.

Cultural Items

Photos require locality, date and the name of the collector/photographer.

Ideally photos should include an object that shows scale (e.g. a ruler or coin).

Sending cultural items to us:

  • Always contact us first before considering sending cultural items. Never send unsolicited donations of any cultural items.
  • Please leave Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural sites and objects as they are.  The disturbance or relocation of such cultural material can greatly diminish its cultural and scientific significance and it is also illegal. The Queensland Museum does not enforce this legislation, but we strongly encourage you to leave such artefacts in their original location.

For more information on the legislation protecting these sites and objects please refer to the Compliance - Cultural Heritage Fact Sheet from the Department of Environment and Resource Management

 

 

 

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.