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Collections Databases

About MSU Museum electronic records systems

The MSU Museum cultural collection records are computerized into ARGUS, a collections management database system. Our natural science collections are computered in the Specify Biodiversity Collections Management system.

National and international collection database projects

The MSU Museum has significantly advanced public and scholarly access to the museum's natural science and cultural collections by participating in developing the following multi-institutional collection database systems.

  • The Division of Natural Science collections are electronically accessible through the following international biodiversity data portals (iDigBio, HerpNET, ORNIS, FishNet2, VertNet, and GBIF). Digital specimen records are served globally via these six data portals. Our vertebrate collections and their online data are continuously accessed by the local, national, and international scientific research community.
  • The Quilt Index is a project led by the MSU Museum and MSU's MATRIX, in collaboration with The Alliance for American Quilts and a consortium of U.S. museums, libraries, and archives holding quilts and quilt data. In 2004 the Index received a major national leadership grant from the Institute for Museums and Library Services to develop the Index as a model for repositories--of any size and anywhere in the world--to make thematic collections of any kind more accessible for education and research.
  • The MSU Museum and the MSU Library collaborated on the IMLS-funded project Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project that provides an innovative model for making digitally accessible the cookery material collections housed in the museum and the library's major historical cookbook collection.

Statewide electronic cultural collection databases based at the MSU Museum

The MSU Museum has provided state leadership in documenting and inventorying Michigan's material culture forms, including the following:

  • The Michigan Stained Glass Census, supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a statewide inventory of architectural stained glass.
  • The Michigan Barn and Farmstead Survey inventories and documents the architecture of the state's agricultural landscape and is supported by the Michigan Humanities Council and conducted in partnership with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network.
  • The Michigan Quilt Project, an inventory of quilts with meaning to a Michigander or Michigan organization. Over 6000 quilts representing over 2000 quilters have been registered since 1984. The MQP is supported in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and contributions from quilters and quilt organizations.