History of the Invertebrate Collections

1804 Donation of the insect collection of Karl Victor von Bonstetten (1749-1832) to the “Burgher Library” (the subsequent Museum of Natural History). It contained the collections of the schoolteacher Rudolf Schärer (collected around 1770, died in 1772) and of Jakob Samuel Wyttenbach (1745-1832). Value probably minor, the collection is lost.

1832 Establishment of the Museum of Natural History.

1835 Entomological and malacological collections of Samuel Emanuel Studer (1757-1834). Value probably small, a large part of the collection is lost.

From 1858 on, members of the Entomological Society of Bern looked after and increased the collection of the Museum of Natural History.

1874 Donation of the important malacological collection of Robert James Shuttleworth (1810-1874).

In 1878, Moritz Isenschmid (1850-1878) left the museum his large insect collection as well as a fund, the income of which was designed to pay the salary of an entomological curator.


1879-1881 Albert Müller is the first curator of entomology.

1881-1917 Dr Theodor Steck (1857-1937) is curator. The income of the Isenschmid Fund no longer covers the wages of a curator.


1917-1927 Charles Ferrière is Head of Department. In 1927, he is appointed to the British Museum of Natural History and later to the Muséum d’histoire naturelle of Geneva.


1927-1928 Dr Theodor Steck is interim Head of Department.

1928-1950 Dr Gabrielle Montet (1882-1956) is Head of Department.


1951-1963 Prof. Dr Walter Huber (1917-1984) is Head of Department, and from 1964 on Director of the museum.

1964-1988 Dr Hans Dieter Volkart is Head of Department.

1988-1996 Dr Charles Huber is interim Head of Department.

1992 Start of electronic data management of the collections.

1996 Dr. Christian Kropf is appointed Head of Department

2010 The collections have grown to 2 million (entomology) and 1.5 million (malacology) specimens, respectively.