Collecting began at the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History over 160 years ago, in 1858. Research expeditions in the late 1800s and early 1900s, private donations, and the acquisition of orphaned collections have been the main sources of collected materials. Today, our collections comprise over 140,000 specimens, objects, and artifacts.
Did you know most museums only display around 10% of what they have in collections?
We're no different! Only a small fraction of our collections are on display in museum galleries—most are preserved in collections access areas for current & future generations to use in their research. Use this page to explore the collections we protect.
Researchers, faculty, instructors, students, and others needing assistance with digital or in-person access, object/specimen loans, other special arrangements, or more detailed information on our research collections may contact our research collections team.
Paleontology collections at the University of Iowa are held by the UI Paleontology Repository, not by the Museum of Natural History, and most archaeology collections are held by the Office of the State Archaeologist. Botany and mycology collections formerly part of the University of Iowa Herbarium (IA) are now part of the Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC) at Iowa State University.