The collections inventory

The collections inventory is one of the main and regulatory missions of a museum. It concerns all of the collection.

As the Museum of Bordeaux is a museum benefiting from the designation “Musée de France”, it must respect the obligations of the Museums law of 2002, particularly to have an inventory of its collections.

The aim of the inventory is to administratively index the objects a museum acquires administratively by a museum in order to manager them in good conditions. This inventory is scientifically documented, it therefore represents a reference document for any study of a specimen.

Which support is this inventory carried out on?

In the digital era, and for large numbers of series like those of museums, inventories are often kept on computerised databases.

At the Museum of Bordeaux, we use SN-Base from the company Axiell France, a special version of the Micromusée software for Natural History collections. Computerised database enable multicriteria research that researchers and students ask us for regularly, or the museum design service when new exhibitions are being prepared.

The inventory process

Le Muséum de Bordeaux - sciences et nature inventorie tous les spécimens de ses collections d'histoire naturelle.

To inventory an object in a database, a record must be created. This can correspond to a specimen or set of specimens from a same species. In this case, the data: sex, source, collection date and collector may be different. The set must therefore be stated so that ultimately each of the specimens has its own record. The more we know the specimen’s history, the more it is completed.

Several stages are necessary to create a record:

  • Writing a data entry form
  • Photographic coverage (shots, retouches, indexation)
  • Putting together the specimen or set file with all of the documentation collected
  • Creating appended files (files with the authors’ names, places of origin, collectors’ names, donors or sellers...)
  • Checking the record

The inventory number

Le Musée de Bordeaux - sciences et nature inventorie tous les spécimens de ses collections d'histoire naturelle.

When the object is registered in the inventory, it is assigned an inventory number, which enables exact identification.

The scientific team explains its inventory work to us

The butterfly collections with Matthieu

The shell collections with Yohann