Insect curation at the Museum Do you want to learn more about insects? Join us Wednesday's 3-5 pm to learn how to identify and curate insects for the Museum.
  • Skeletal Articulation Students in Dr. Duffield’s Articulation course learn to assemble skeletons
  • PSU's Native Pollinators We just completed a 3-year survey of the native bees present in Portland.
Welcome to the Museum of Natural History at Portland State University, a research-based collection of plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates from around the world, with a specific focus on the Pacific Northwest.

What does the museum do?

The primary goal of the museum is to acquire new material, maintain the current collections which date back to the 1800s and disseminate information about the diversity of life to the public.  We do this through collecting material from around the world, for all to use.

What is in the collections?

Over 50,000 vertebrates and invertebrates including:

  • pinned insects
  • fully articulated skeletons
  • preserved vertebrate and invertebrate specimens
  • skulls
  • eggs
  • skins

The Herbarium holds specimens of approximately 29,000 vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, and lichens.

Does the museum have a public space?

Yes! The museum has a permanent installation of articulated skeletons and other specimens in the 1st and 2nd floor lobbies of the Science Research and Teaching Center.  In addition, we host school tours and "Open House" events throughout the year, including a rotation of exhibits developed by PSU faculty and students.  Check out "Visiting the Collections" to learn more about educational opportunities for students, families and adults alike!

What is in store for the future?

  • We will continue to grow the research collections through research expeditions and collaborations.
  • Expanded opportunities for students, teachers and the public to visit and interact with the collections and ongoing scientific research at the university.
  • We are presently working to digitize our collections to increase the online presence for education and research purposes.

Mission Statement:

The Museum of Natural History at Portland State University is dedicated to acquiring, maintaining, synthesizing, and disseminating knowledge about the diversity of life. We are stewards of historical organismal collections that help us to understand patterns of biodiversity and how they have changed over time. New material from all forms of life, from microbes to plants to animals, is acquired, preserved, catalogued, and housed in the Museum. We are committed to teaching students, collaborating with scientific researchers, and providing outreach to the public.