Museum Techniques
in the 21st Century

17-21 July · Vairão, Portugal

2023 edition

Welcome to the 5th edition of an intensive course on innovative uses of museum’s resources for vertebrate’s research. By the end of this course students will have an updated overview of the potential of museum collections for biodiversity research


The host instructors, from CIBIO-InBIO and the Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Porto (MHNCUP) and foreign instructors from Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV) will share their knowledge and experience on preparing, curating, and using museum specimens. This will be complemented by online lectures of several invited researchers.

In addition, students will practice how to prepare bird and mammal specimens, how tissues can be obtained and preserved for a variety of uses, how to obtain coloration data and how to prepare 3D models.


CIBIO-InBIO is located at the Vairão Campus, just north of Porto city (how to get there). The Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Porto (MHNCUP) is located right at the centre of Porto city. 


beyond the specimen

present the "extend specimen" concept, and the potentially limitless use of Biological collections


consider how museum specimens provide genetic and genomic resources and how to retrieve genomic data from historical specimens


present other non-genetic molecular methods, such as stable isotopes, toxicology and quantification of coloration

whole specimen

discuss state-of-the-art ‘whole specimen’ techniques including CT scanning, 3D models, 3d printing


understand the potential of the spatial and temporal data, available in global repositories, such as GBIF and the power of machine learning techniques to mobilize data from specimens


practice the ways that vouchers of vertebrates can be prepared to ensure that quality data is available for generations to come

time (GMT +1)

17 Jul


18 Jul


19 Jul


20 Jul


21 Jul

09:00 – 10:15

Value of museums in the 21st century

Museum specimens as a genetic and genomic resource

Museum specimens as a resource for non-genetic molecular analysis

Museum specimen’s data as a resource for biodiversity analysis

Visit to a taxidermist office – preparation of mounted specimens for exhibition

10.30 – 12.45

Invited lectures – the principle of the “extended specimen” & “whole specimen” examples

Invited lectures – retrieval of genetic data from ancient specimens

Invited lectures – retrieval of non-genetic molecular analysis data

Invited lectures – curation of museum data for biodiversity analysis

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (birds & mammals)






14.15 – 17:30

Current methods for preparing specimens

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (birds)

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (mammals)

Practical session – retrieving genetic material from museum specimens

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (birds & mammals)

Practical session – retrieving coloration data and prepare 3D models

Visit to MHNCUP Collections – types of specimens and storage

Practical session – data preparation for publishing in GBIF

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (birds & mammals)

Invited Seminar & conclusions

Countdown Expired!


2 July


75% of student slots

MBGE + BIODIV Students



CIBIO's TwinLabs



Other post-graduate Students

200 €

( CIBIO-InBIO members 20% discount)


Registration fees do not include accommodation or meals

organizers & instructors

  • Ricardo Jorge Lopes (CIBIO/UP & MHNCUP, Portugal)
  • Paulo Célio Alves (CIBIO/UP & FCUP, Portugal)
  • Rita Rocha (CIBIO/UP & MHNCUP, Portugal)
  • Ana Leitão (CIBIO/UP & FCUP, Portugal)
  • Diana Lobo (CIBIO/UP & FCUP, Portugal)

foreign instructors

  • Mary Margaret Ferraro Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV). Bird Collections Manager.