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 open to the public Fridays 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm and for workdays (normally the first Saturday of each month, moved to the second Saturday to accommodate holidays).  Entry is through the main entrance to Boone Science Hall at the first level.  The Museum is located downstairs in the basement. To arrange for group tours contact Kinga Britschgi at 208.459.5211 or KBritschgi@collegeofidaho.edu.

The public is invited to monthly research seminars, held in connection with workdays. Seminars are from 12-1, in the Grover M. Hermann Lecture Hall (Boone Science Hall Room 103). The next seminar topic is "Climate Change Impacts, Global and Local," by Cyndy Bratz (Bratz Environmental Engineering). Please note that the September workday and seminar are on the second Saturday of the month (September 12) because of the Labor Day holiday.

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Latest news

Nate Carpenter (Curator of Palentology) and Calvin College Professor Dr. Ralph Stearley (Research Associate of Paleontology) collected fossil samples in southern Idaho

Dr. Paul Castrovillo (Curator of Lepidoptera) was featured in the Boise Statesman newspaper for his work on entomology, including his contributions to Museum collections. Click here to see the on-line version of the Statesman's article.

Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) was interviewed on National Public Radio! Click here to find out why "birding" is more than just "bird watching!"

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

Holdings of the museum include:

  • One of the world's largest collections of insects from Baja California
  • 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
  • Other invertebrates (especially insect and aquatic, including Snake River mollusks)
  • Other vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds)
  • Artifacts from ancient Egypt and Rome including a falcon mummy