From the eighteenth century European naturalists came to Ecuador for scientific expeditions, during which they collected specimens of flora, fauna, rocks and fossils. In the early twentieth century, Franz Spillmann brought together a collection of fossils, which formed the "Cabinet of Natural Sciences" of the Central University. Later, in 1946, Robert Hoffstetter and Gustavo Orcés founded the Department of Biology at the National Polytechnic School, and made numerous paleontological expeditions, particularly in the Santa Elena peninsula. Hoffstetter's extensive work and organization formed the basis of the modern museum.
- "Redescubrimiento de material tipo depositado en la colección del Museo de Historia Natural "Gustavo Orcés V." del Instituto de Ciencias Biológicas, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador" (in Spanish). Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana. Retrieved 11 May 2015.