Open as of June 2007
"Cabinets of natural science should be collected [including] specimens of the mineral and vegetable kingdoms, especially of the State of Michigan."
-- Joseph R. Williams, President, Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, Dedication of the College, May 13, 1857
Those words marked the founding of the Michigan State University Museum, which marks a landmark 150 years in 2007.
Michigan State University Museum: 150 Years of Discovery, a new exhibit, shows visitors how the MSU Museum stewards, collects, preserves, studies, interprets and shares the wonders of the natural world and world cultures. The exhibit offers a representation of the museum's physical beginnings in the Library-Museum building on campus, now Linton Hall, with classroom-labs, including a young Asian elephant skeleton used in the 1890s and on view again for the first time in nearly 40 years. Initially, early plant and animal specimen collections, housed in cabinets, were used in classrooms for student instruction in the agricultural sciences. In the early 20th century came an increased understanding about the importance of cataloging, easy retrieval and long-term preservation. Today, barely 5 percent of the museum's holdings are on exhibit, with the remainder of the nearly 1 million holdings in collections facilities that protect them from ravages of temperature, light and humidity. Even while not on display, they are used by researchers worldwide.
Michigan State University Museum: 150 Years of Discovery also depicts how the MSU Museum makes knowledge accessible for the public through exhibitions in the main museum facility, its Traveling Exhibition Service, public programs and increased online resources. Beyond the walls of the MSU Museum are also virtual outreach educational classes for K-12 students, connecting them to the specialists and collections at the museum. Major festivals, special events and numerous local, national and international collaborations also take the museum into the community. Meanwhile, a prolific curatorial staff engages in research and fieldwork and a world of discovery in archaeology, folklife, paleontology and natural sciences.
Special funding for this exhibit was provided by William Kenney.
The MSU Museum is one of the oldest museums in the Midwest and is Michigan's leading public natural history and culture museum. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the MSU Museum in 2001 became the first museum in the state to receive Smithsonian affiliate status from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the world's largest museum and research complex.
The museum is open seven days a week free of charge (donations are encouraged). The MSU Museum is located on West Circle Drive next to Beaumont Tower on the MSU campus and is accessible to persons with disabilities. Hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Visitor parking is available in front of the building and at metered spaces at the new Grand River Ramp, one block away at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Charles Street. For more information, call (517) 355-2370 or see http://museum.msu.edu.