A statement of the Museum's policy governing the acquisition and disposition of specimens was approved by the Senate of the Scientific Staff, June 7, 1993 (the last published statement was in Curator 1974, vol. 17, pp. 83-90). We act within those guidelines while attempting to realize the following goals:
- To acquire specimens of as many species of amphibians and reptiles as possible, in order to increase research potential of the collection on a global scale and to anticipate the needs of future generations of systematists
- To acquire collections from geographic regions where adequate collection in the foreseeable future may be difficult or impossible-as in regions undergoing profound ecological change (e.g., in tropical ecosystems)
- To accumulate significant holdings in those taxonomic groups and geographic areas appropriate to the research interests of present staff
- To serve as a depository for voucher specimens upon request by outside investigators
- To accept existing collections of scientific value from institutions no longer dedicated to their care, subject to our ability to provide or to acquire the necessary financial support for the transportation and initial curating of such collections
The Museum collection ranks as one of the most heavily used herpetological resources in the world. Currently there are 281 outstanding loans comprising a total of 1,622 specimens, which amount to approximately ½% of the entire collection at its current size. In the last 39 years, a total of 69,389 specimens were sent out on loan, a number equivalent to 21 percent of the entire collection. Many researchers visit the Department for the purpose of working with the collections. The collections have hosted more than 1,400 research visitors in the last 27 years, averaging 52 visitors per year (range 19-102).