Collections are the assemblages of organisms, both living and dead, that are organized and curated by scientists to provide the formal documentation of the world's known biodiversity.
They include museums, zoos, arboreta, botanical gardens and private and public research collections used by scientists to more fully understand and document the variability of the earth's biodiversity.
Many museums focus on one specific scientific study, while others have collections that overlap multiple disciplines.
Why the term 'natural history' ?
Natural history museums are interested in the study and description of organisms and natural objects, especially their origins, evolution, and interrelationships, which is why many collections have a wide range of objects--from fossilized plant specimens to extinct animal bones.