Collections

The UMZM has unique, scientifically valuable and historically significant collections of vertebrates from the Northern Rockies that span nearly two centuries. These collections include some of the only surviving vertebrate materials collected from the Montana territory prior to its becoming a state in 1889. Historical collections such as this provide a unique insight into the distribution and morphology of certain animals prior to major, human-influenced environmental changes in our region. In addition, the museum houses a substantial collection of large Carnivores collected in Yellowstone National Park prior to the Endangered Species Act -- a period of time when populations of these mammals were suffering greatly. Invaluable records such as these allow us to infer the ways in which populations have changed since becoming more strictly protected. 

Currently, the museum is digitizing all its specimen records. These will be made available online in a searchable catalogue in the near future (sometime in 2017). In the meantime, if you have specific data requests or would like to learn more about the collection, please don't hesitate to contact us. To learn more about the collection, explore the links in the navigation pane.

chipmunk skulls in vials

Montana Comparative Skeletal Collection

The (MCSC) is a unit of the zoological museum, which is specifically geared toward aiding faunal analysts, (particularly zooarchaeologists) with their studies.

great horned owl skull

The Value of Natural History Collections

Perhaps the most common question we get from visitors is "Why so many?" To understand the answer to this question, first we must learn more about why these collections are so valuable.

red-backed tree vole skins