Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum (UMZM)

Welcome to the Zoological Museum

The Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum at the University of Montana contains over 24,000 specimens of vertebrates, primarily mammals, birds, and fish. It is the largest zoological collection in Montana and one of the major zoological collections representing the Northern Rocky Mountains. The museum has been instrumental in documenting past and present distribution patterns of Montana mammals and birds, and is the major repository for specimens that constitute important Montana records. The museum provides important resources for research, teaching, and educational outreach programs, and was one of the first Zoological Museums in the nation to become fully accredited by the American Society of Mammalogists.

Brief History

Begun in the 1890's with contributions by such notable biologists as Morton John Elrod, the museum contains collections from as early as the 1850's up to the present, including a collection of American Bison bones collected from an archaeological site dating back to 1490 ad.  Dr. Philip L. Wright (right) took responsibility for the museum in 1939 and continued to add specimens until his passing in 1997. That same year, in a dedication ceremony, the University of Montana renamed the museum in honor of Dr. Wright's efforts to build the collection.  Other past curators include Dr. Robert Hoffmann, a mammalogist who went on to become the Secretary of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History after getting his start in the UMZM during the 1950's.

Today the museum continues to grow and move forward as the leading zoological collections repository in the region.

Dr. Philip Wright