As one of its basic aims the Natural History Department collects minerals, fossils and plant and animal material from the area of the Zadar district. The collections that are today to be found in the Department have gradually been formed since the XIXth century by gathering material, through donations and by way of purchase. Sad to say, with the passing of time and due to historical circumstances a large part of the holdings has been destroyed but the part that has been preserved, together with newly collected material, constitutes a significant cultural asset.
Today the Department holds 25 collections which are differentiated by material, size and value. Generally they can be separated into collections of inorganic material (minerals and fossils), the herbarium, collections of vertebrates and collections of invertebrates. The collections were in greater part collected during the investigations performed in the district of Zadar but a part of the material derives from other areas of Croatia and from abroad.
All the collections are stored in depots where they are regularly checked and protected by various chemical agents. The collections are not accessible to the public excepting at times of thematic exhibitions. After giving preliminary notice, experts get access to the collections which are object of their professional interest.