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 KBritschgi@collegeofidaho.edu.

 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, December 5. The lunchtime research seminar will be "Scarabaeoidology in Colombia," by Dr. Dave Ward and Dr. Al Gillogly, OJSMNH.

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

Bill Clark (Museum Director) has begun field 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. He will be joined by entomologists from the San Diego Museum of Natural History and from Mexico City.

The Museum welcomes a new Research Associate, Dr. Julia Sankey. Dr. Sankey is a vertebrate paleontologist and faculty member at California State University, Stanislaus. Her earlier involvement with the Museum includes instituting a program to provide small grants to students who want to use Museum collections in their research.

Dr. David H. Greegor, Jr. is no longer a Curator of Herpetology, but remains as a Research Associate of the Museum. The position of Curator of Herpetology is now vacant.

Dr. Eric Yensen (Member of the Board and Curator of Entomology) presented the lunchtime research seminar for November. His topic was, "Collapse of the Sagebrush-Steppe Ecosystem."

Bill Clark (Museum Director) and Dr. Al Gillogly (Curator of Entomology) were featured on Idaho Public Television's "Science Trek" program, where they answered questions that were "bugging" local school children. The program was filmed in the Museum, and features photos of the entomology collections. Click here to watch the program. 

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