The Type and Figured Collection contains around 3600 specimens illustrated or cited in scientific publications, with many designated as zoological or botanical type specimens, and is important as an international reference and research resource.
Many items from historical collections within the museum were used by notable palaeontologists during the 19th Century. For example, specimens in the Mathews Collection had been used by Sir Roderick Murchison in his classic work, The Silurian System, published in 1839. In addition trilobite specimens from the Ketley, Mathews and Hollier collections were described and illustrated by J.W. Salter in his Monograph of British Trilobites published in the 1860s.
A large number of Charles Lapworth's type and figured specimens are maintained within this collection, and cover the long period of his research work on graptolies from the 1870s culminating in the publication of the Graptolite Monograph between 1901 and 1918.
The Type and Figured Collection is used regularly by palaeontologists world-wide, and continues to grow as more of the museums collections are used for scientific research, and as new material is continually added to the museum.