About the Collections

About the Collections

UMass Natural History Collections as a Campus Treasure

In 1866 the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture transferred its Natural History Collections from the Statehouse in Boston to the newly created State Agriculture College Campus in Amherst. As the college grew into the flagship campus for the University of Massachusetts System, the Natural History Collections remained on site and accumulated specimens until it developed into an astonishingly large sample of the worlds biodiversity with an especially strong representation of local flora and fauna.

It developed into an astonishingly large sample of the worlds biodiversity.

Today, the collections stand at more than 300,000 specimens of mammals, birds, plants, fishes, reptiles and amphibians. These resources play a major role in undergraduate education. They are the focal point for many laboratory courses, serve as the raw material for graduate and undergraduate research studies, and draw attention from local and national organizations and governmental agencies.

The following pages contain detailed descriptions of each of the collections, with an introduction by the curators, a sampling of current research studies and a description of the faculty and students who play a role in their maintenance, use and growth. We hope that you enjoy this introduction to the Massachusetts Natural History Collections and urge you to contact the Director or Curators with questions or comments.


Dr. Madelaine Bartlett
Curator of Living Plants,University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Email: mbartlett@umass.edu Tel: 413-545-2235