The Yamashina Institute for Ornithology holds 3,348 specimens of the Imperial Household Museum bird specimen collection (YIO-IH). The YIO-IH cannot fully give collection data from the labels attached to the specimens. Our final goal is to restore the collection data. As the first step, we surveyed the collection history of the YIO-IH. The Imperial Household Museum bird specimen collection (IH collection) was derived from specimens that two Japanese national museums had collected during before 1872 and 1923. The IH collection was separated into the following three groups: 1) specimens collected by the predecessor of the Imperial Household Museum from 1872 to 1889: 2) specimens collected by the predecessor of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo from 1875 to 1890: 3) specimens collected by the Imperial Household Museum from 1890 to 1923. Although 93.1% of the YIO-IH had had unclear dates, the year in which each specimen was collected could be narrowed down based on the IH collection history. The IH collection was considered to be the only extant national museum collection since the Meiji and Taisyo periods. The YIO-IH, composed of 83.0% of the IH collection, was considered to be an important collection for the history of Japanese museums and ornithology.