Guidelines for using Museum Victoria’s Identification Service

The Discovery Centre can identify specimens and objects that relate to Museum Victoria's Collections and Research areas of Science, Indigenous Cultures and Australian History and Technology.

Science specimens (animal or mineral)

We can only identify rock and mineral identifications if we are able to view the specimen itself. For animal and fossil identifications, we need to view the specimen or a good photograph. You can either:

  • Attach photographs to our online Enquiry Form,
  • Bring specimens to the Discovery Centre, or
  • Mail small specimens and photographs to our postal address (details below).

Please give us as much information as you can about the specimen, including when and where it was found or collected. Please also tell us whether you would like the specimen back (items can be collected from the Discovery Centre during opening hours).

If you are taking photos for identification purposes, please take the images from several different angles and put a ruler in the photograph for scale.

Before being posted, insect and spider specimens should be placed in an airtight plastic container and left it in the freezer overnight. This will humanely kill the specimens (it is illegal to send most live insects through the post) and ensure that they reach us in good condition. Please do not put any flammable liquid, such as methylated spirits, in the container (it is illegal to send flammable material through the post).

Museum Victoria does not accept responsibility for items sent to us by post. Australia Post reserves the right to destroy any material that becomes physically offensive.

Manufactured or hand-crafted objects

We can only identify manufactured or hand-crafted objects if we are able to view the object itself or a good photograph. You can either:

  • Attach photographs to our online Enquiry Form,
  • Bring your specimen to the Discovery Centre, or
  • Mail photographs to our postal address (details below).

Please do not post precious objects, precious documents or photographs. Museum Victoria does not accept any responsibility for items sent to us by post.

The Discovery Centre cannot store manufactured or hand-crafted objects items while an identification is in process. If you bring an object to the Discovery Centre for identification, we will photograph it and return it to you on the spot.

Please provide us with as much information as you can about the object, including:

  • Where it was made, who made it and when it was made,
  • Where it is from and who owned it,
  • Who used it and when it was used, and
  • Any other information about the story surrounding the object.

Contact the Discovery Centre

Online, or

Visit us

The Discovery Centre
Melbourne Museum
Lower Ground
Carlton Gardens
Open 10am to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday
Entry is free

Write to us

The Discovery Centre
Melbourne Museum
GPO Box 666
Melbourne VIC 3001

Email us

discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au