The museum organizes specimens into four distinct research collections: minerals, gems, rocks and ores, and meteorites.
The mineral collection consists of more than 100,000 specimens and ranks as one of the world’s finest due to its broad representation, wealth in rare species, large number of specimens described in scientific literature, and the quality of its specimens. The rock and ore collection holds more than 200,000 specimens as a result of active faculty and student research; this collection is rare and unique because some of the ore bodies have been mined out and many of the mines are now closed. The meteorite collection contains a largely comprehensive group of meteorites, with nearly 600 distinct meteorites, and about 1,500 specimens. Included within this collection is a small ancillary assemblage of impactites and tektites. Finally, the gem collection, mainly used for research and display, consists of more than 1,000 specimens with special focus on New England gems.