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.

Workday schedule

Next workday is Saturday, October 3.

The October research seminar has been cancelled. Museum Director Bill Clark plans a special event, followed by a question and answer session. Come find out what's going on! 

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

Latest news

Night at the Museum featured an introduction by Dr. Charlotte Borst (President of The College of Idaho) and a presentation by Dr. Ron Bitner (Research Associate of Entomology and member of the Museum Board). Awards were presented to Alan Gillogly, James Ryan, Bill Belknap, and members of the Clark and Houston families.

Drs. Barbara Ertter and Patrick Fields were featured in McCall's Star-News  newspaper for their recent discovery of sixteen-million-year-old plant fossils in Ponderosa State Park. An exhibition of the fossils at the Park is planned.

Steve Bouffard (Curator of Birds) was interviewed for an article in Audubon Magazine. (Audubon is the magazine of the National Audubon Society, and has a circulation of more than 430,000). Watch this website for publication information.

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

Holdings of the museum include:

  • Invertebrates, including Snake River mollusks and 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