NSF logo NSF Museums Project

A project funded by the National Science Foundation to digitize over 60,000 specimens from participating University of Michigan museums. Three collection efforts dating from the early 1800s to the mid-1900s were chosen for their historical significance and multidisciplinary nature.

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Photo: Nyctyornis athertoni


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Populus tremuloides

The Geological Surveys of Michigan

Beginning in 1837, the year Michigan gained statehood, the Geological Surveys produced some of the earliest geological, zoological, and botanical collections from the state.

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Photo of mammal

Joseph Beal Steere

An Ann Arbor native, Steere traveled through the Amazon, Philippines, China, and Taiwan in 1870-1875; the specimens he sent back to the University of Michigan formed the nucleus for the Museum of Natural History.

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Walter Koelz

With his collecting partner Rup Chand, Koelz traveled extensively in India, Iran, and the Himalayas on the first University-sponsored expedition to South Asia from 1930-1953.

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Collection Highlights

  • 154 years of collection history (1805 - 1959)
  • Over 70,000 photos
  • Specimen types include: birds, herbs, insects and mammals


Scarabaeidae Agrostemma githago Amazona Calidris Canis Lupus Magnolia grandiflora Dasypus Novemcinctus Dinopium benghalense Hemiechinus Collaris Osmunda claytoniana Panthera Pardus Pelargopsis malaccensis Ribes rotundifolium