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.
Please provide all the information 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).
Rocks and minerals
We can only identify rocks and minerals if we are able to view the specimen itself – photos alone are insufficient. Please submit your specimen to the Discovery Centre in person or by post.
Animals and fossils
We can only identify animals and fossils if we are able to view the specimen itself or see a good quality photo. Please submit your specimen to the Discovery Centre in person or by post, or attach photos using the enquiry form below.
Insect and spider specimens should be frozen an airtight plastic container overnight before posting. It is illegal to send most live animals through the post. Freezing kills the specimens humanely and ensures that they reach us in good condition. Do not put any flammable liquid, such as methylated spirits, in the container since this is illegal to 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
For all other objects, manufactured or natural, we require a good quality photo in the first instance. When taking photos, please position a ruler beside the object to provide a sense of scale. It is also helpful to take photos from several different angles.
Please provide us with as much information as you can about the object, including, where known:
- What is the history of the object?
- When, where and by whom was it made, owned or used?
- In what condition is the object?
- What are its dimensions?
- Any other information (e.g. any distinguishing features, serial numbers, trademarks)
Please submit your photos and provenance information to the Discovery Centre in person or by post, or use the online enquiry form below.
We cannot store manufactured or hand-crafted objects items while identification is in progress. If you bring an object to the Discovery Centre for identification, we will photograph it and return it to you on the spot.
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 receives many enquiries. We aim to respond to all of them, but there may be occasions where we are unable to help you. Depending on staff resources and expertise, enquiries may take up to six weeks or sometimes longer. In-person enquiries cannot necessarily be resolved on the spot.
Museum Victoria does not:
- provide indications of value, worth or rarity
- sell our objects
- advise on or assist with commercial transactions relating to your objects
Discovery Centre will not reply to enquiries related to any of the above. For advice on obtaining a valuation please see our Valuations infosheet.