The collection of the Museum Vrolik originates from the splendid private collection of anatomical, zoological and teratological specimens of Professor Gerardus Vrolik (1755-1859) and his son Professor Willem Vrolik (1801-1863).
After Vrolik's death the collection was threatened by a public sale, but luckily it was acquired in its entirety by a committee of citizens in 1869. It was then handed over to the municipality of Amsterdam and placed in the Anatomical Laboratories of the Athenaeum Illustre, the forerunner of the University.
There have been several subsequent additions to the collection. The private collections of Hovius (a collection of pathological bones, shown in a fine 18th century cabinet) and Grevers (a dental collection) were donated to the museum. Further additions included some animal specimens, anatomical and embryological, used for teaching and research. Since 1994, 150 specimens of congenital malformations have also been on display. Together with a guidebook, these exhibitions provide an overview of dysmorphology.