Specimen collections can constitute one of the main ways to expand museums’ collections.
These collections can be developed as part of scientific expeditions to take inventory of and study biodiversity. They are particularly carried out by the big national major museums but small missions are also carried out in regional museums. They are framed by administrative and legal rules, and carried out with authorisations for collection prospecting and permits in agreement with regulations for the protection of natural spaces and species.
Programmed acquisitions meet an exhibition theme or educational objective being prepared and are customary in natural History museums. Several sets of specimens were constituted in this framework like for example the stuffed dogs collected by Joseph Künstler at the beginning of the 20th century or, more recently, the plants collected to be presented in herbarium boards in the semi-permanent exhibition devoted to the Aquitaine coast.
Finally opportunity collections correspond to the unplanned collection of a specimen, often a dead animal, but that can also be a fossil or abandoned nest… Previously, museum taxidermists were able to have a special hunting permit “for all species in all seasons” with the aim of expanding collection series. This is no longer the case today for vertebrates, for which only the skins are collected, with prefectural authorisation.