collectionsOur collection includes specimens of birds, mammals, plants, rocks, fossils, fungi, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. We currently have over 4,000 specimens in our collection.

Collecting helps us identify species, teach with real examples and preserve materials for scientific study.

Collection History

Our collection began in the 1960's before we even had a building. Then director and chief curator of biology, Bernie Fashingbauer collected birds from Wisconsin when a large number collided with a radio antenna in Eau Claire. The collection has grown over the years since those first specimens through both donations and active collecting. Our naturalists continue to collect plants, fossils and even birds. Birds that collide with windows are turned into study skins and often make their way into our collection.

Our collections also grow when others donate full collections to us. Here are some notable donations of full collections from the past.

1970: Bernard W. McNamara collection is donated. Collection consisted of African animal mounts and skulls including crocodile skull and a Warthog.

1970: Lawerance E. DeSomery collection is donated. The Bison, which he hunted legally at Custer State Park in South Dakota was the major specimen, other specimens included an American elk and moose head mounts and a snowy owl mount.

1981: Juanita Allison collection is donated. This collection consisted of African and North American mounts including a mountain goat head mount, an African Buffalo shoulder mount and a Roan antelope head mount.

1985: Erwin Brown collection is donated. The collection consisted primarily of North American and African ungulate head mounts and capes and was comprised of 67 individual specimens.

1980's: Herbarium specimens from the Metcalf Nature Study area enter the collection. Landkamer & Smithberg primarily collected these specimens in the summer of 1982.

1990's: Otto Luger collection donated. Collection includes insect species from across the U.S. including many from western states. Luger was the state entomologist for MN in the early 1900's and a professor at the university of MN for several years. The specimens the University have are considered of historical importance. The WNC collection was his private teaching collection. The oldest specimen is from 1889. Our Luger collection totals 149 species and over 250 specimens.

1991: George Kutz collection is donated. This collection consisted of waterfowl, mammals and songbirds of North America

1991: Jap Hammond collection donated. This collection consisted of mammal mounts and rugs, including three full mount grizzly bears. Other specimens included a polar bear rug and a seal rug.

1996: Dewey Smith donated a full polar bear mount.