Image recognition as a tool for museum collections

collection of bird eggs

In the project Automatic image recognition as a tool for museum collections, Naturalis and several other Dutch museums are investigating the use of artificial intelligence for object registration in museums.  In this pilot machine learning is used to train several models on scans or photos of specimens, so that they learn how to identify objects.

Sander Pieterse (Project manager)

Annika Hendriksen (Coordination) link


In this project, we are developing AI models for different types of collection. We also investigate  for which types of collections AI can and cannot  be used, and what is needed to develop a reliable AI for this purpose. Museums, both in the Netherlands and abroad, that lack the expertise to identify species by themselves, might benefit, too. Machine learning may be able to help them identify the objects in their collection. The first models can be found here (page is in Dutch only, currently)


The focus is on five subcollections in several museums. We develop models for recognizing butterflies, bird eggs, cone snails, masks from different cultures and the eggs of rays and sharks.

in this project

Project partners:



Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

Natuurmuseum Brabant

This project was made possible with financial help from the Mondriaan Fonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and NLBIF.

13 muggen door Anselmus de Boodt

De slimme kracht
van kunstmatige intelligentie

External video URL

Het Netwerk Digitaal Erfgoed maakte deze video over ons project, met een gastrol voor onze vrienden van het Missiemuseum in Steyl.