Image of taxidermied specimen of a Swainson's hawk Image of MFS student showing an education collection specimen to middle schoolers Image of a taxidermied specimen of an Abert's squirrel gecko


The Zoology Section has many types of users who impact the specimens in different ways and to varying degrees. Our goal is to find the delicate balance between use and conservation. To that end, we have put together several types of special collections which we hope will help retain that equilibrium. Each type of special collection has a different level of scientific importance, and therefore a different level of long-term conservation. Please contact a member of the primary curatorial staff about use of this material.

K-12 Educational Collections: These collections have the highest availability to users and the lowest level of protection because, generally, they have no associated scientific data. These are available to K-12 educators and can be handled freely by students. As such, they will suffer some damage over time. These specimens are also available to other users (e.g., general public, artists, university classes). Traveling exhibits of taxidermy specimens of birds and mammals are also available through the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History Education Section (call 303-492-4843 for more information).

Synoptic Teaching Collections: These collections have a higher level of protection and lower user availability. Specifically these specimens are for use in approved upper division biology classes on campus (e.g., Invertebrate Biology, Mammalogy, Ornithology, Vertebrate Paleontology). They are composed of a mixture of specimens with little or no data and those with scientific data. While the approved classes have first priority, the specimens are occasionally loaned out to other users (nature centers, other university classes, etc.) but, in those cases, they are not to be handled by students. Specimens in these collections are also available to researchers.

Research Collections: This is the bulk of the Zoology Section's collections. Generally, these are available for use in the museum or for loan to researchers and graduate students. Although their use in university classes is discouraged, they can be used occasionally to supplement synoptic material. These specimens have valuable scientific data and are given our highest level of protection and conservation.

University of Colorado at Boulder

Henderson Building, 15th and Broadway, Boulder, CO 80309
tel: 303.492.6892 fax: 303.492.4195
For questions or comments, please email
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