Founded between 1842 and 1845, the museum showcases the Department of Biological Sciences' extensive collection of plants, amphibians, fish, birds, mammals, insects, parasites, and fossils that have been acquired over the last 175 years. The Greene-Nieuwland Herbarium, which houses about 280,000 dried plant specimens, includes many that were used for the description of North American species. The Museum’s arthropod collection is strong in species of importance to public health. The fossil collection includes specimens dating as far back as 500,000 years before present time and includes specimens from the Burgess Shale, British Columbia, where some of the earliest evidence of animal diversity was first documented. The Museum’s holdings includes a full skull cast of a large specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex and portions of a large Triceratops and other dinosaur specimens, as well as bones of mastodons collected from northern Indiana. In addition to natural history specimens, the museum houses a collection of 17th and 18th century microscopes and other optical equipment and antique microscope slides used for the examination of biological specimens.
Museum Day represents a nationwide commitment to access, equity and inclusion. More than 250,000 people downloaded tickets for last year's event, and Museum Day 2018 is expected to attract more even more visitors.