In 1958 the Department of Invertebrate Zoology (with the rationalization of collections becoming the Department of Entomology and Arachnology) was created when an entomologist, Charles Jacot-Guillarmod, became its first curator. He vacated this post to become Museum Director and in 1968 Dr Fred Gess, an entomologist from the South African Museum, took up this post.
At this time the insect collection was relatively small and did not have a defined focus. Together with Dr Sarah Gess (from 1972 onwards) and Mr A Weaving from 1981 to 1995, Fred Gess succeeded in establishing the Department as an internationally known research centre for the study of aculeate wasps. This is time became the largest collection of Southern African aculeate wasps and bees.
Today, the Department houses around 250 000 specimens. The Albany Museum is the only repository of terrestrial insects between Cape Town (South African Museum) and Pietermaritzburg (Natal Museum) and therefore serves a wide range of institutions, organisations and individuals.