History of the vertebrate animals collections

E. A. Goeldi collection, Brazil

Partial view of the Goeldi collection on display in a special exhibition on Goeldi in Berne, 1992/1993

In 1898-1911 the Natural History Museum Berne (NMBE) received a considerable collection of vertebrates and insects from Brazil. The collection was donated by the Swiss zoologist Emil August Goeldi (or: Göldi; 1859-1917), then director of the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi (MPEG) in Belém (Pará, Brazil).
Part of the specimens were Goeldi's private collection, the majority was a depository of MPEG in Berne, to be kept as a reference collection outside the tropical climate of Pará.
The Goeldi collection in NMBE was recently inventoried. All vertebrate specimens are in the computer database; the inventory is available on request. Birds: ~ 3000; mammals: ~ 1000
As regards invertebrates, some major insect families are catalogued in computerized form, whereas several hundred coleopterans and orthopterans are still undetermined.
Goeldi collection (English text)
Goeldi the scientist (German text with English abstract)
Goeldi the colonialist (German text in Gothic lettering)

B. v. Wattenwyl collection of African Mammals

Bernard v. Wattenwyl (1877-1924), a citizen from Berne living in London, made two safaris to Africa (Kenya and Uganda) in 1914 and in 1923. On his second safari he stayed in Africa for over two years and his main focus was not only his personal hunting ambitions but to collect big game animals for the Natural History Museum Berne. He tried to collect an as complete set of mammals as possible from the region. He was accompanied by his 23 year old daughter Vivienne, who was of great help to him.
In late September 1924 B. v. Wattenwyl was attacked by a lion he had previously wounded. He managed to kill the lion but was himself lethally maimed.
On October 2, 1924 Bernard v. Wattenwyl died and was buried in the soil of his beloved Africa. After her father's death Vivienne completed the expedition and brought many valuable specimens back to Switzerland. Among others: over 130 skins, skeletons and skulls from over 50 different large African mammals.

African specimens from other collectors

The above mentioned B.v.Wattenwyl collection covers about 25% of our African specimens. The remaining collections are from various collectors and consist mainly of big game trophies. A collection of small mammals was collected by C.A.W.Guggisberg in East Africa during the sixties.

Theophil Studer collection

Theophil Studer on Kerguelen Island on his world journey around the world (1874 - 1876).

Prof. Theophil Studer (1845-1922) was professor of zoology at the University of Berne and part-time curator of the zoological collections from 1872 to 1922. 1874 - 1876 he journeyed around the world on board the German corvette "Gazelle". He brought back some important zoological collections to Berne, mostly birds from South Pacific islands and marine invertebrates.

Paul Henrici oological collection

Dr. Paul Henrici (1880-1971) was a physician and also an avid ornithologist. In 1952 the Natural History Museum was able to acquire part of his nice collection of bird eggs. ~ 5000 sets, global distribution

Gilbert Pochelon oological collection

~ 2200 sets, mainly from Central Europe