The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research has 2 main collections of specimens, namely:
1. Botanical Collection
2. Zoological Reference Collection
The Herbarium of the National University of Singapore was founded in 1955 by Prof. H. B. Gilliland, head of the Department of Botany at NUS from 1955-1965. The herbarium was originally established to be a repository of teaching and voucher plant specimens of botanical researches conducted by faculty staff and students at NUS.
Today, it has grown to become a large documentation of the rich plant resources of Singapore and Southeast Asia. The herbarium and its acronym, SINU, is registered with the International Association of Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) and is listed officially in the 1990 edition of the Index Herbariorum published by the New York Botanical Garden for IAPT.
The herbarium has about 30000 flowering plant specimens (including 155 wet orchid specimens), 1660 fern specimens, 700 moss specimens, 100 liverworts specimens and 1235 marine algal specimens. The collections focus mainly on the vascular and bryophyte floras of Singapore and Malaysia.
Zoological Reference Collection
On April 1st 1823, Thomas Stamford Raffles came up with the idea of establishing a museum for Singapore. In 1849, work on the building for the museum was completed, and it was named after him in acknowledgement of his contributions.
The Raffles Museum was first established as a museum of natural history and anthropology. The zoological collection of the Raffles Museum is known internationally for the leading role it played in Southeast Asian zoological research and the many publications based on it.
The Zoological Reference Collections (ZRC) has over a million zoological specimens belonging to at least 10,000 species. The majority of the zoological specimens in the ZRC originate from Southeast Asia since 1840. Many groups of animals are very well represented in the RMBR. Some of these are among the best in the world. Most of these are irreplaceable and are priceless historical specimens.