The Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum is spread across several rooms in two buildings, with each space meeting a specific curatorial need or function in the UMZM's mission as a resource for education and research.
The UMZM underwent a major renovation in 2018-2019, funded by the National Science Foundation as part of their program for Collections in Support of Biological Research. In addition to NSF, we thank the Friends of the Philip. L Wright Museum, the Division of Biological Sciences, and the entire University of Montana community for their support through the renovation and into the Museum's next phase of use and growth.
The Multi-Use Classroom (HS 212) supports undergraduate organismal biology labs (Mammalogy and Ornithology) and also serves as a home-base for community events and educational groups focused on Montana natural history. Displays highlight the UMZM history, mission, and research, and showcase some of the beautiful and unique specimens in our collections.
Specimens used for hands-on learning in classes and outreach are housed in the Teaching Collections Room (HS 211A) adjoining the Multi-Use Classroom. The refrigerated Pelt Room (HS 211B) provides cool and dry conditions for storing the pelts used for both teaching and research.
As new specimens are welcomed into the UMZM, their first stop is the Preparation Lab (HS 201). This room contains freezers, a fume hood, the dermestid beetle box, and equipment for preparation of skins, skulls, and other materials that will be used for teaching, outreach, and research.
Bulky skulls and skeletons of large animals can pose a storage challenge, and our solution is the Skull Room (HS 202). With flexible open shelving, the Skull Room is home to specimens of Montana's biggest mammals -- grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, moose, caribou, and more. This room also houses our fluid-preserved collections and cabinets for quarantining specimens to prevent pest outbreaks.
The Research Collections Room (ISB 404A) is the primary storage area for specimens used by researchers at the University of Montana and worldwide. Our compactor system of cabinets on electronic tracks offers nearly twice as much storage space as would be possible with traditional static cabinets. With everything from shrews and songbirds to eagles and porcupines, this room holds over 20,000 specimens dating from the late 1800s through today.