Community Engagement Through Science

Museums and Collections

The Faculty of Science is home to excellent museums and collections that showcase an amazing depth and breadth of science research. Each year our museums and collections are accessed by thousands of University students, researchers from all over the globe, the local community, summer programs, and school groups.

On this page you will find some of the museums and collection that are open to the community to access in the form of tours and appointments, collection access, and virtual access. To find out more about each museum and collection, please visit their website for specifics regarding access.

The Department of Biological Sciences

Cryptogamic Herbarium

The Cryptogamic Herbarium contains a broad range of organisms including mosses, liverworts, hornworts, lichens, and fungi. This collection has an estimated 222,500 specimens from around the world, with an emphasis on northern and western Canadian ecosystems. It is a fundamental resource for biological systematics and classification, diversity and conservation, biological monitoring and climate change, ecology, and paleobotany.

Dino Lab

The Dino Lab is a paleontological research lab headed by Dr. Philip Currie and Dr. Eva Koppelhus, with a focus on the Late Cretaceous dinosaurs of Alberta.

E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum

The E. H. Strickland Entomological Museum houses approximately one million specimens. The research collection includes principally Nearctic insects, representing most orders and the major families thereof. The beetle family Carabidae is especially well represented: included are about 400,000 specimens mainly from the Nearctic region, but with an important Neotropical component, and fewer taxa from the remaining biogeographic regions. The moths and butterflies, order Lepidoptera, with nearly 75,000 specimens, about 41,000 of which are from Alberta localities, are another group of major interest. The E.H. Strickland Museum collections are in the process of being imaged and databased, and are available at the Virtual Museum.

Freshwater Invertebrate Collection

The Freshwater Invertebrate Collection is an active resource in ecology and systematics representing Alberta and Western Canada. The specimens (more than 5000 lots) are used as vouchers and to assess ecological change, and the collection provides the foundation for researchers studying bodies of water that have undergone major transformations. Faculty and graduate students working on rivers, streams and lakes continue to add to the collection.

Jim van Es Marine Invertebrate and Malacology Collection

The Jim van Es Marine Invertebrate and Malacology Collection includes a wide range of preserved marine invertebrate animals from the Northeastern Pacific Ocean, including sponges, jellyfish, anemones and many different kinds of worms, crustaceans, clams, snails and echinoderms (starfish, sand dollars and their relatives). It also includes an extensive collection of dried mollusc shells from all over the world.

Museum of Zoology

The Museum of Zoology is home to four collections: the Amphibian and Reptile Collection, the Ichthyology (Fish) Collection, the Mammalogy Collection, and the Ornithology (Birds) Collection. Each collection is used for the purposes of research and teaching, but may be accessed by the community by contacting the curator of each collection.

Parasite Collection

The Parasite Collection contains tens of thousands of preserved specimens ranging from microscopic to a metre in length. The geographic scope spans the planet with strong representation from Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The collection is an excellent regional resource for comparative parasitic analysis, as well as research into climate change and basic ecological principles.

Vascular Plant Herbarium

The Vascular Plant Herbarium is a research and teaching resource for the study of evolution, diversity, distribution and ecology of cordilleran, prairie, arctic and alpine plants. It is the largest herbaria of its kind in Alberta, and the third largest in Western Canada. Founded in 1912, the herbarium holds more than 120,000 specimens dating from 1835 to the present and is built upon the collecting activities of faculty members and students, as well as the acquisition of outstanding amateur collections.

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Meteorite Collection

The University of Alberta Meteorite Collection is the largest university-based collection in Canada. It is comprised of over 1100 specimens of over 155 different meteorites. The Meteorite Collection contains specimens from 13 meteorite falls and finds in Alberta, and from over 100 other locations elsewhere in the world.

Selected specimens from the EAS Collection are displayed at the Telus World of Science Edmonton. Do you think that you have found a meteorite? Go to our Meteorite Report System.

Mineralogy / Petrology Museum

Established in 1912, the Mineralogy / Petrology Collection is one of the oldest systematic mineral and rock collections in Canada. It currently contains about 12,000 specimens, of which more than a thousand are on display in the Mineralogy / Petrology Museum. The Collection ranges from brilliant crystals to glittering fool's gold to mineralogical rarities and oddities as well as historical specimens from localities that are no longer accessible. The Collection, especially the specimens in the Museum, is a valuable resource for researchers, students, rock and mineral collectors, and the museum community.

Paleontology Museum

Highlights from two extraordinary collections, University of Alberta Laboratory for Vertebrate Paleontology and the Invertebrate Paleontology Collection, are available for public discovery in the Paleontology Museum. Specimens on display range in age from over 600 million to 10,000 years, from dinosaurs to fish to trilobites. Significant fossils highlight unique discoveries that address major evolutionary questions. The Museum is a valuable asset to the Department's students and researchers as well as to other paleontologists, and a delight to school groups and the general public.

Virtual Collections

Entomology Collection

Access to the searchable database of the E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.

Paleobotanical Collection

Access to the searchable database of the Paleobotanical Collection of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.