The different acquisition methods

Since the Museum of Bordeaux was established, the collections are continually expanding with new specimens, acquired alone or in the form of collections that have already been assembled.

New acquisitions can be programmed, for example in connection with an exhibition project. In this case the specimen is sought and chosen with a view to joining the collections. On the other hand, when a specimen or a collection are offered to the museum, this is referred to as an opportunity acquisition.

New specimen acquisition takes place according to several means:

  • Donations are the most common acquisition means, and may relate to entire collections, like the Journu and Latapie collections, or single specimens like animal hides from zoos. It may be a manual donation, by simply giving the item, or made official through a contract (donation).
  • Bequests allow the collector to designate the inheritor of certain goods they own through a notarised deed. This is what François Daleau chose, whose collections were bequeathed to the City of Bordeaux, with the palaeontologic collections being given to the Museum and the Prehistoric collections to the Museum of Aquitaine.
  • Collections, which the museum staff carry out to prepare for future exhibitions, such as the herbariums displayed in the Aquitaine coast exhibition, or as part of study projects carried out at the museum.
  • Purchases, which may relate to animal specimens, fossils or rocks but also educational objects like mock-ups, models or casts, enable choosing specimens and objects that best illustrate the intention the exhibition wishes to have.
  • Holding in trust relates to objects or collections entrusted to the Museum of Bordeaux’s management and use, according to terms defined by an agreement and which remain the property of the entrusting institution. A collection of lithology and mineralogy (Gay collection) as well as a collection of reptiles in alcohol are currently entrusted to the Museum of Bordeaux by Bordeaux University.


A collection of scientific, aesthetic or historic interest being added to a Musée de France public collection, such as the Museum of Bordeaux, is a pledge of preserving the unity of that collection long term. It will be accessible to the public thanks to temporary exhibitions and can be highlighted through scientific studies.

Proposals for collection donations or bequests are welcome but we cannot accept all proposals. Several factors must be take into consideration before accepting donations:

  • The specimens’ museum design, scientific and historic interest: good state of conservation, documentation with the date (or period) and place collected. Potentially the context of possible studies and publications based on all or part of the specimens
  • The originality of specimens in relation to what we already have in the collections: species we do not have, original taxidermy positions, exceptional or unusual specimens for various reasons
  • The origin of specimens known and respecting regulations in force regarding the trade and protection of species

For any information about a donation or bequest of specimens proposal, you can contact us at the following address: