The Natural History Museum (SNM) was established on 1 January 2004 by the merging of four separate institutions: the Botanic Garden, the Botanical Museum and Library, the Geological Museum and the Zoological Museum. SNM is now a department of the University of Copenhagen.
The museum is responsible for maintaining and building up natural history collections, for carrying out research in the natural sciences, and for presenting the current state of knowledge about natural history to the general public. The museum's exhibitions in particular play an important role in teaching and public outreach. As part of the University's science faculty, the museum's science staff also teach and supervise students at all levels, and the museum welcomes many international scientists and students.
As the country's principal natural history museum, the museum gives specialist support to other natural history museums in Denmark. It is also here that unusual and valuable finds of natural historical interest, such as rare fossils or meteorites, are reported, examined, and collected.