The beginning of the entomological collections was in 1793. It was the collection of Joseph Natterer which formerly had been stored in the Kaiserliche Hofburg in Vienna. It contained also insects and was purchased by the Emperor Franz I. The first curator of insects was Johann Carl Megerle von Mühlfeld.
The tradition of expeditions reaches until these beginnings of entomological collections at the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Johann Natterer's voyage to Brazil (1817 - 1836) led to an enormous enrichment of these collections. About 60 000 insects from Brazil, collected by Natterer, were part of a separate "Brazilian Museum", as these collections were too big for the "Tiercabinett" in the Hofburg. They were housed in the "Harrachsch'e Haus" (today Wien I, Johannesgasse 7). Due to this fact the Brazilian collections were not destroyed by the fire in the year of the revolution 1848 contrary to a great part of the old entomological collection from the "Tiercabinett". Thus, nearly no material from Megerle von Mühlfeld is still available.
The frigate Novara started its voyage around the world in 1857. Georg Ritter von Frauenfeld and Johann Zelebor participated at this voyage. When they returned in 1859 they brought numerous insects which were identified and described by famous entomologists: L. Redtenbacher (Coleoptera), F.M. Brauer (Neuroptera), H. de Saussure (Hymenoptera including Formicidae), G. Mayr (Formicidae and Hemiptera), I.R. Schiner (Diptera), C. Felder, R. Felder und A. Rogenhofer (Lepidoptera).
1876 was the year of the foundation of the actual Naturhistorisches Museum in Wien. The transfer of the new museum gave new possibilties to our entomological collections. Specialists as Ganglbauer and Holdhaus (Coleoptera), Rogenhofer and Rebel (Lepidoptera), Kohl and Maidl (Hymenoptera), Brauer (Diptera and Neuroptera) and Anton Handlirsch (fossil Insects) contributed to the reputation of the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien.
1972 is the year of the foundation of the 2. Zoologische Abteilung (Entomology), one of the three zoological departments.