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Natural Science Division

Images of  wooden loan boxes on a table, a man examining a fossil outside, students in a class examining mammal skulls, two people collecting measurements with large calipers, and two mice of the genus Peromyscus

Michigan State University Museum was founded in 1857, making our natural science collections among the oldest in the United States.¬† The collections were established in response to College President Joseph R. Williams calling for the collection of ‚Äúcabinets of natural science specimens‚Ķ especially [those] of the State of Michigan.‚Ä̬† Faculty member Manley Miles contributed the first specimens, which he had acquired while working as an assistant on a natural history survey of Michigan.

More on the history of the MSU Museum Vertebrate Collections.

Today, the collections (Mammalogy, Ornithology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, and Vertebrate Paleontology) are encompassed within the Museum’s Division of Natural Science. While still emphasizing Michigan and the Great Lakes region, the collections are worldwide in scope, and provide a record of biodiversity that ranges from the 1840s to the current day. Research access is available to qualified investigators.  Separate teaching collections are available for use in MSU classes, exhibits, and campus programs.

Support for collections care, preservation, and digitization is provided by Michigan State University, federal granting agencies, annual fundraisers, private donations, and the Dr. Marvin ‚ÄúMax‚ÄĚ Hensley Endowment for Vertebrate Collections.

Questions About Animals?

Wildlife & Natural History Q-line