About the Collections

The UMZM is home to unique, scientifically valuable, and historically significant collections of vertebrates from the Northern Rockies that spannning well over 100 years.

The collection includes some of the only surviving vertebrate materials collected from the Montana territory prior to statehood in 1889. Historical collections such as this provide a unique insight into species distributions and variation 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 time when populations of these mammals were collapsing without regulations and protections. Invaluable records such as these allow us to infer the ways in which populations have changed since becoming more strictly protected.

Explore UMZM specimen records by searching UMZM:Birds and UMZM:Mamm on the museum database, Arctos.

chipmunk skulls in vials

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

How to Request a Loan

Request a loan for research or educational purposes.

bird collection