The Geological Museum is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. The exhibitions at the museum cover the Solar system, the evolution of life on Earth, volcanoes, minerals, and the geological evolution of Denmark and Greenland.
The collections at the Geological Museum have been built up through centuries and include large collections of minerals, fossils, petrology, and meteorites.
he Museum consists of six major collections representing the branches of geology, a library (which also serves the Geological Institute, The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and the Danish Lithosphere Centre) and an archive. The collections contain approximately 8 million specimens, which have been accumulated through the years from over 30 large collections, including royal, public and private collections together with material collected by the staff or obtained by donation, purchase or exchange. The collections are divided into two main categories: 1) Original collections of fossils, minerals, meteorites and rocks, which have formed the basis for scientific research papers published by all the geological institutes in Denmark, 2) Reference collections, which are designed to document the composition and development of different regions of the Earth (especially Denmark, the Faeroe Islands and Greenland) and to illustrate the development of flora and fauna through time. One specific public obligation of the museum is to curate geological material which has been designated by the National Board of Museums as “Danekræ”, a new concept concerning finds in Denmark of natural history objects of unique scientific or exhibitive value.
The Geological Museum opened in 1772 as the “Universitetets Nye Naturaltheater” (The New Natural Theatre of the University) and contains specimens which have been in museum collections for more than 300 years. When it was first formed it was the only geological institution in Denmark and it has been the parent body for the Geological Surveys of Denmark (1888) and Greenland (1946) and the four geological teaching institutes (1967), which were later joined to form the Geological Institute, University of Copenhagen (1991).
Today the Geological Museum acts as a centre for Danish geology with special national responsibilities for keeping public records.