Museum of Biodiversity

A historical repository of rare and scientifically significant specimens.

Museum of Biodiversity - eagle

The Museum of Biodiversity near the northern end of Jordan Hall showcases the Department of Biological Sciences’ extensive collection of amphibians, fish, birds, mammals, and insects that have been collected over the last century. As part of the museum, the herbarium preserves the fragile and delicate collection of dried and pressed plants of the Greene-Nieuwland Herbarium.

  • Greene-Nieuwland Herbarium was founded in 1904 by Rev. Julius A. Nieuwland, C.S.C., a prominent chemist and botanist, well known at the turn of the century
  • The largest and one of the oldest institutional herbaria in Indiana, its 268,000 specimens are considered irreplaceable

Museum of Biodiversity - parrot

Over the years, the collection has had several homes on campus, experiencing varying degrees of proper storage. Now, the collection will benefit from its new home and the newest technology available for specimen storage. The cabinets in Jordan Hall are tightly sealed to prevent damage from ultraviolet light and environmental contamination or from destruction by insects. In addition, the air temperature and humidity in this section of Jordan Hall are carefully controlled.

The herbarium is used for teaching and research in the study of botany, ecology, evolution, biodiversity and conservation, regional and global environmental change, genetics, natural products chemistry, archeology, and anthropology, to name a few. An official repository for specimens collected by state and federally funded surveys, the Museum of Biodiversity allows more undergraduate and graduate students to experience a vast array of naturally occurring substances--some of which may hold the key to new discoveries in drug treatments for diseases such as cancer.

Although the museum contents are irreplaceable, they are insured for a replacement value of $20 million.