The Old Museum of Natural History, created in 1996, consisted of 4 centres belonging to the collection of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto: the Montenegro de Andrade Mineralogy Hall, the Mendes Corrêa Archaeology and Anthropology Hall and the Wenceslau de Lima Palaeontology Room, which until the end of 2015, where located on the 1st floor of the Historical Building of the U. Porto in Gomes Teixeira Square; and the Augusto Nobre Zoology Hall, which was located on the 3rd floor of the Building. the end of 2015, the Old Science Museum of the U.Porto merged with the Old Museum of Natural History of the U.Porto, giving rise to the Natural History and Science Museum of the U.Porto (MHNC-UP).
This room, opened to the public in 1996 and, until 2015, located on the left hand side of the Northern Hall of the Building, housed the permanent exhibition of minerals, gemstones and scientific instruments which made up the Collection Montenegro de Andrade.
In the Old Mineralogy Hall, organized by Professor Frederico Sore Borges and designed by architect Fernando Lanhas, about 700 minerals from various parts of the worl, including wolframite and apatite from the Portuguese Panasqueira Mines, quartz and amethyst or emeralds from Brazil, or fluorite from England, which are now comprised in the MHNC-UO collection, were on show until 2015
The Mendes Corrêa Archaeology and Anthropology Museum was one of the dependencies of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Porto (NHM). Its origin dates back to 1912, when Anthropology began to be taught in the Faculty of Sciences of Porto.
António Augusto Esteves Mendes Corrêa, the first Anthropology professor, was also the first Director of the former Anthropology Museum and Laboratory. Throughout the museum’s existence, its collection, now part of the MHNC-UP, was enriched by the spoil of the excavations led by Mendes Corrêa and his researchers, as well as by a few donations.
The part of the museum that used to be occupied corresponded precisely to the area where Mendes Corrêa began to set up, since 1935, the then called "General and Metropolitan Anthropology Hall".
Still in 1935, Mendes Corrêa started to assemble another museum, concluded five years later, to which he called "Colonial Anthropology Hall", later named "Overseas Museum". This Museum showcased ethnographic collections from the former Portuguese colonies and foreign collections, among which stood out the Melanesia collection, because it was unique in Portugal. It was shut down in 1974, after the fire in the northwest wing of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and it did not open again.
This collection is mainly composed of specimens of archaeology, anthropology and Portuguese ethnography, colonial and foreign, of numismatics and a considerable photographic and documental archive.
The collections that used to be displayed in this Hall include animal and plant fossils brought from geological campaigns initiated at the end of the XIX century and from acquisitions, and from a regular purchasing policy of objects, presenting reference collections for teaching and research in the fields of paleontology and stratigraphy of Portugal.
The collections also comprise foreign fossils from several eras and places, invertebrate (trilobites, brachiopods, molluscs and others), vertebrate (fish, reptiles, amphibians) and vegetable fossils ("fetus", among others).
This museum area, established by Augusto Nobre (1890), who was encouraged by Aarão de Lacerda, housed until 2015 a collection of specimens from the Polytechnic Academy of Porto and of other items collected by the founder or obtained through donations and acquisitions.
Now parto f the MHNC-UP, the most significant collections are the native fauna collections of Reis Júnior, the mollusc (terrestrial and aquatic) collection of Professor Augusto Nobre, the "Maria Amélia" butterfly collection, the "Correia de Barros" coleopterous collection and the "Braga Júnior" exotic fauna collection. The most popular specimens are the naturalized leatherback sea turtle, the African elephant skeleton, and the whale skeleton found beached at Paraíso Beach in Matosinhos (1937), which now stands in the Hall of Biodiversity – Casa Andresen, Botanical Garden of Porto, the first pole of the MHNC-UP to open to the public.
All the natural history collections that are now part of the MHNC-UP are currently being subject to exhaustive inventory, treatment and rehabilitation processes.