The collections of the Department of Mineralogy and Petrography comprise a total of about 150.000 catalogued objects (the effective number of pieces is of course considerably higher). About 15% of the total inventory is on public display (in the case of the mineral collection it is even a fifth of the inventory).
The public displays are distributed among 5 large exhibition halls, numbered Hall I-V (after entering the Museum, turn right and go up the stairs to visit Hall I).
The significance of the mineral collection of the Natural History Museum Vienna lies in their rich content of objects from occurrences within the former area of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy and of the Alps. However, the collection also represents many "classic" deposits of Germany, Russia, Great Britain, Italy and other countries.
Purchases of specimens on todays' broadly varied mineral market focus, taking into account the modest financial means available, mainly on Alpine-type mineral assemblage (Alps and comparable areas), selected pegmatite assemblages (e.g., Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal), new gemstones and semiprecious stones, as well as ornamental and synthetic material, and manipulated and fake jewelry. Also purchased are newly discovered meteorites and rare mineral species completing our systematic collection.
Current research comprises mainly the scientific study of meteorites (and classification of new meteorites) and impact craters (two new impact structures were confirmed in the last few years), of gemstones and rare minerals (and their crystal structures), and of ore deposits and various mineral occurrences. Since 2007, more than 30 new mineral species were described by department staff and Dan Topa (Central Research Laboratories). Furthermore, historical aspects are studied scientifically.