The museum‘s principal aims are research, documentation and presentation of the diversity and development of living and non-living nature in all its variety especially at the territory of Slovakia. Museum is a central methodological institution with a nationwide authority. With its collections (approximately 2.4 million objects) it ranks among the most significant European natural history museums. Collections are provided to the professional public for scientific studies and are presented to the general public by means of exhibitions, lectures, monographies, publication outputs in the scientific journals as well as daily press, radio and television.

The museum’s collections comprises mineralogy, petrology, palaeontology, anthropology, botany and zoology. The museum’s acquisition activities are oriented primarily to the territory of Slovakia; minerals from abroad are acquired in particular for the exhibition purposes and for comparative studies. Particularly valuable is the type and historical documentary material, as well as collections of significant scientists and collectors.

The scientific-research activities of the museum are oriented to the research and documentation of biotic and abiotic items of the Western Carpathian Mountains environment. Experts of the museum are also involved in the projects of other scientific institutions (in particular the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University), which are often solved in the framework of the international cooperation. Research results are presented in scientific studies, articles and specific professional outputs (scripts, exhibitions, lectures, catalogues, listings, etc.).