The Michigan State University Museum collects, preserves, studies, and interprets cultural artifacts and natural history specimens. These collections help us to address questions about the natural world and about how humans connect with that world and with one another.
Natural history specimens document the natural world, past and present. They are a critical resource for scientists and provide a biological database that is the basis for our understanding of the evolution and diversity of life on Earth.
Cultural artifacts document history and express human creativity and diversity. We are interested in how artifacts are made, how they are used, how they express human values and how they influence society and the lives of individuals. Our focus is on the cultural history of the Great Lakes region, and its roots and connections with other cultures.
Collections are an irreplaceable world resource held in trust for the long-term benefit of society. Natural and cultural history collections are vital for research, education, interpretation, public enjoyment and inspiration, cultural identity, environmental protection, and scientific understanding.
There are nearly 1 million items in the collections. The MSU Museum has been collecting since it was founded in 1857 and continues to bring in new objects and specimens.
To make these holdings available to researchers, scholars and others world wide, descriptions, images and searchable databases of the MSU Museum’s collections are being installed on the web.