Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History

Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History

The only natural history museum in the region encompassing southwestern Idaho, southeastern Oregon and northern Nevada, the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History is the premier resource for environmental and natural history education in the region. The museum’s extensive collections and programs support the education of The College of Idaho students and the general public.

The Museum is located in the basement of Boone Hall on The College of Idaho campus in Caldwell, Idaho. It is open to the public Friday afternoons and one Saturday a month for workdays and public research seminars.  It may also be open for special events and by appointment. Click here to see the Museum calendar. 

To arrange for group tours contact Kinga Britschgi at 208.459.5211 or [email protected].

 Holdings of the Museum include:

  • Invertebrates, including Snake River mollusks. Museum collections include voucher repositories for Idaho Power Company, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and others.
  • One of the world's largest collections of insects from Baja California
  • Vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds), including the largest collection of modern fishes in Idaho
  • Paleontological collections (especially fossil leaves and fishes)
  • Native American archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, including Luther Douglas sand paintings
  • Artifacts from ancient Egypt and Rome including a kestrel mummy
The position of Curator of Herpetology is currently open. Please contact Bill Clark (Museum Director) if you'd like more information or to apply.

Next Lunchtime research Seminar and Volunteer Workday

Next workday is Saturday, February 6. The lunchtime research seminar will be "Characteristics of predator visits to burrowing owl nests," by Sara M. Pourzamani (Boise State University).

The workday and seminar schedule for 2016 is now available. Click on the "Museum calendar" or "Volunteer workdays and research seminars" link (to the right of the jaguar photo) to download it.

Click here for more information on workdays and public research seminars.

Latest news

The Museum has changed its Facebook page. Click on the Facebook icon to visit the page and "like" the Museum.

Help the Museum support The College of Idaho's Scholarship Gala, celebrating 125 years of excellence in education! As in past years, the Museum has reserved a table. Proceeds of the event benefit student scholarships. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets. Be sure to ask to be seated at the Museum's table during checkout!

Shiann Jones (Boise State University) presented the January research seminar. Her topic was, "Interdisciplinary approaches to history: How STEM fields impact historical research."

Water leaked into several areas of the Museum as a result of frozen pipes in Boone Hall. Damage is currently being assessed.

An article by Jan Summers Duffy (Curator of Archaeology) was featured on the cover of Ancient Egypt magazine.

Bill Clark (Museum Director) is conducting research as part of an interdisciplinary expedition to assess the biodiversity of the site of a proposed mine in the mountains south of La Paz, Baja California. The project also includes entomologists from the San Diego Museum of Natural History and from Mexico City, as well as vertebrate biologists, botanists, and conservation biologists.

Click here for more information about this and other Museum news.