Search our museum collections online

Updated on 7 July 2023

Find out exactly what we have in our museum collections by using our online catalogue

On this page

Our online collections database allows you to search as follows:

Basic search

This will perform a cross-search of the following fields

  • Object category
  • Accession number
  • Title / description
  • Creator
  • Place of creation / collection
  • Narrative

It does not search for the date of creation.

For more advanced searching, use the following:


You can search in the following fields:

  • Object Category
    This is a one-word description of the type of object (for example, oil for oil painting) which you can select from a drop-down list.
  • Collection Name 
    All of our objects are part of larger collections, usually related to the subject discipline (for example, the Physics Collection). Collections from the Art College begin DJCAD. Some art collections are separately listed by their donor (for example, Alan Woods Bequest). It is not possible to search multiple collections here. If you want to search all of our art collections together, for example, you would need to use the Narratives search or the Accession Number
  • Accession Number
    if you happen to know the catalogue number you can search for it here. This is an easy way to search all of our art collections as their numbers all begin with ARTS: (the only exception is the Artists Book Collection which begins CAB:)
  • Title/Description
    here you can search for the name of an object (for example, potentiometer) or the title of artwork (for example, The Trickster). For most artworks we have also included descriptions so you can also try searching for keywords (for example, sunset). This only searches for whole words, but you can use \* as a wildcard - (for example, \*meter will find the thermometer, anemometer etc).
  • Creator 
    this allows you to search for the maker of an object, either a company (for example, Allardyce & Son) or an individual (for example, John Duncan).
  • Date of Creation
    you can search for a specific year (for example, 1984) but many of our objects are catalogued with a rough date (for example, c.1980s) so it’s best to try both.
  • Place of Creation / Collection
    where we know it, we have included the place where an object was made (for example, Dundee) or where a natural history specimen was found (for example, Davis Strait).

Many of our records have images attached to them but not all, so you also have the option to search only for items with images. When you have entered all the information you need for your search, click on the search button and all the related objects will be listed. Once you have made your search, you can view a detailed view of any object in the results by clicking on the bold text. 


Narratives are descriptions of groups of objects. They give more information about the various formal collections that we hold but also wider groups of collections (such as all our Fine Art collections) or sub-groups within those (such as Principals’ Portraits), which you may find useful to learn more about what we have.

Because we have only limited narrative information on our database at present, only a few of the available fields will yield any data. You can search on the following:

  • Title – this is the name of the collection and you can search for any words in it (for example, Textile)
  • Narrative Text – here you can search for any word(s) in the descriptive text (for example, D’Arcy Thompson)

Clicking on the title of one of the search results will bring up the descriptive text and links to each of the Object records that are part of that collection. This can take a while, especially for collections that have hundreds or thousands of records.

My Collection

This is a way of viewing objects that you’ve previously marked as being of interest.

Search our museum collections