The mission of the Vertebrate Museum (located in Berry Center 133) is to document and understand regional and global vertebrate diversity through the acquisition and investigation of collections made by faculty, staff and students to advance academic knowledge and public appreciation of the natural world.
The scientific information contained in museum research collections contributes to our understanding of the mysteries of the natural world. The specimens housed in the vertebrate research collections of the Berry Center help researchers explore the processes that influenced the evolution of these mysteries.
For example, Dr. Steve Buskirk, faculty member of the University of Wyoming's Zoology/Physiology department, is writing a book on Mammals of Wyoming - and is extensively using the Vertebrate Collection is a primary resource!
Most of the specimens currently in our holdings are from Wyoming, but we're embarking on an ambitious growth phase focused on increasing our holdings from across the New World.
The dry specimens (skins, skeletons, and more) are housed in a state-of-the-art collections room in Berry Center 141, while wet specimens (snakes in formaldehyde, for example) are kept in Berry Center 119. A set of -80 degree freezers, used to preserve DNA samples, are also located in the Berry Center.
Teaching specimens are on display in the Berry Center's second floor display cases and in the Berry Center's first floor lobby. The classroom enclosed by the display cases is used to teach mammology (study of mammals) and ornithology (study of birds) during the school-year.
The Vertebrate Collection isn't just for scientists! K-20 classes are welcome to tour the facilities by contacting Biodiversity Institute Associate Director Dorothy Tuthill, which includes a presentation by Museum Curator Dr. Matt Carling. The Museum is also developing a Museum-in-a-Box program.