Studies of population genetics and phylogenetics require samples from individuals representing a variety of spp. and populations. Collecting the necessary individuals may be problematic, particularly for seasonal, rare, or geographically remote organisms. Museum collections therefore provide a potentially valuable resource, and the widespread use of polymerase chain reactions (PCR) means that target regions of DNA can be amplified from very small amounts of tissue. Here modifications to DNA extraction techniques are described that have allowed the authors to extract, amplify, and sequence a portion of mitochondrial DNA from parts of single dragonfly legs taken from museum specimens up to 80 yrs old. It is anticipated that in future these techniques will be applied to a range of odon. studies, including questions of conservation genetics.