The State Museum of Natural History is situated in Lviv - the biggest industrial, scientific and cultural centre in Western Ukraine. Being almost 750 years old, our city is inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The museum is a chain in the scientific, research and organizing structure of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Ukraine and a constituent part of the Department of General Biology of the NAS of Ukraine.
The mission of the museum is:
to develop scientific principles of natural history museology, to create, enrich and preserve its collections;
to study biological diversity and ecology of some groups of modern and fossil flora and fauna in Western Ukraine;
to conduct scientific, educational and popularizing activities.
The museum was open for general public in 1870. Its main building was built at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century and is recognized a monument of architecture. The museum is included in the European and world catalogues of museums. It participated in the First World Exhibitions in Vienna (1873) and Paris (1878) where was awarded with diplomas and medals. In 1940 the museum became part of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Its scientific collections and exposition are included into the state register of scientific objects constituting the national property. The museum assemblages are formed on the basis of the unique collections of the Muzeum Przyrodnicze im. Dzieduszyckich and the Natural Museum of the Shevchenko Scientific Society as well as on the basis of the collections of many generations of researchers and scientists living in the middle of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century and have been significantly enriched since it became part of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Scientific collections (natural collections) of the museum amount to over 350 000 items, are of exceptional scientific value and form state part of the Museum assemblage of Ukraine. The museum holds over 250 holotypes, where new species of fossil and modern plants and animals were described for the first time in the world's science.
Particularly outstanding (of world importance) holdings are:
The collection of the museum scientific library which sprung from a well-known in the 19th century "Potorytska library" created by the famous naturalist and the founder of the Lviv Natural History Museum W?odzimierz Dzieduszycki consists of about 70000 books of natural literature beginning from the 16th century.
Since its foundation the museum exposition has been developing and improving according to new scientific conceptions in the evolution theory, changes in classifications and taxonomy, recent materials concerning the nature history of the region and current state of biological resources. Before the museum reconstruction the exposition was visited by up to 100000 visitors a year. Now it is dismantled and placed in storage. The major repairs of the main building should be over in about 3 or 4 years.