About UMPC

Services and Facilities

The University of Montana Paleontology Center (UMPC) is located in the C.H. Clapp Building (CHCB) and facilities include the Collections Room, Preparation Lab, and exhibit areas.  Displays are open to the public during general University Business hours – Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.  For guided tours, please schedule a tour.

Research Collections (1,500 sq. feet) – CHCB 6, basement

  • Space-Saver compactor system holds 192 cases.
  • Wooden Drawers hold current student research and petrographic overflow.
  • Collection contains microfossils, plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, mineral and lithographic specimens.

Preparation Laboratory (800 sq. ft.) – CHCB 323, 3rd floor

  • Pneumatic scribes, air abrasive unit, and casting/molding equipment.
  • Acid Lab for various technics, specimen whitening and matrix removal.
  • Imaging room with microscope that has an attached camera.

Exhibit Areas

  • 1st Floor CHCB: 10 cases representing the roughly 3 billion years of life on Earth.
  • 3rd Floor CHCB: 2 cases featuring a Dire Wolf and Saber-Toothed Cat from the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits.
  • 5th Floor UM Mansfield Library: Case dedicated to Earl Douglass.
  • Montana Natural History Center (120 Hickory Street, Missoula, MT): Pleistocene animals depicting life during Glacial Lake Missoula.


  • October 2005 - The state Board of Regents approved the UM Paleontology Center (UMPC).
  • April 2006“Peck’s Rex”, Tyrannosaurus rex, skull cast goes on display in the C. H. Clapp Building.
  • December 2007 – The UMPC received a substantial grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), to renovate the collections with special attention being allocated to the Bear Gulch Collection.
  • January 2008 – A full-time Collections Manager was hired to organize and curate the collections.
  • August 2008The Space Saver System was installed and became fully functional. (Missoulian article.)
  • September 2008 – New web page/data base was developed by Spectral Fusion and made available to the public.
  • October 2010 – Celebrated the 1st National Fossil Day with an Open House for the campus and community.
  • April 2012 - Featured on the UM Presidents Update.  
  • October 2013 – National Fossil Day Spotlights (UM News Fossil Day Spotlight and the Montana Kaimin Fossil Day Spotlight)
  • March 2015 – KBGA: Word of Mouth – “Artifacts” 
  • October 2015 - UM News Maroon Show for October 15,2015 (skip to 1:45 for UMPC)
  • March 2016 - UMPC Collections Manager was interviewed by Hank Green on the SciShow Talk Show.
  • June 2017 - PBS Eons launched on YouTube with hosts Kallie Moore, Hank Green, and Blake de Pastino. 
  • June 2019 - Collections Manager Kallie Moore hosted the livestream Live at the Museum: Stepping Through Time at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's Deep Time Hall. 

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 40,000 specimens in full collection.
  • Currently, over 30,000 specimens have been updated and 6,400 images have been added to the data base.
  • Almost 3,000 'type' or published specimens.
  • Since 1898, 280 published research papers and 50+ graduate/undergraduate thesis resulted from the study of UMPC fossils.
  • Oldest Fossil: 2.75 billion years old Stromatolites from Australia
  • Youngest Fossil: ~9,000 years old Ice Age fauna from Montana, USA
  • The UMPC attracts an estimated 500 visitors (public, students, & researchers) annually.

See UM Paleontology Center Brochure