By: Tyler Gillette
The Hefner Zoology Museum is in 100 Upham Hall here at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. This semester it is open on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. It is open on certain Saturdays as well: March 24th 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Apr. 7th 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,`Apr. 21st 10 am-2pm and May 5th 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The hours during Spring Break are Mar. 19-23 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you have had a course in Upham then you may have seen dioramas such as this one with a large grouper showing an ocean scenery. Almost 60 years ago, Robert A. Hefner, Chair of the Department of Zoology at Miami University, started this museum. He wanted to show the department’s many specimens and artifacts. The museum is free and open to the public.
Inside of Upham Hall may be a weird place for a museum, but it is used by professors and their students. It has became a part of many college courses, a favorite field trip for area school children and an inviting destination for Oxford families. The museum tries to teach the public about using natives when it comes to gardening and also talks about the importance of conservation and ecology. It also tries to educate the public about wildlife across the world.
One of the main goals that the museum has is to teach the public about Ohio’s native wildlife species such as the Gray fox and River otter that you see here. It tries to increase our knowledge of natural history, biodiversity, conservation and ecology through collections and display of specimens.
It has a very large collection of hooved animals from all over the world. This exhibit is one of my favorites since it shows you really just how large some of these herbivores are.
The museum uses dioramas to try and create realistic sceneries such as this one showing how soils and decomposers work. The museum houses more than 53,000 specimens. It also serves as an archive of experiences, a repository of memories and a keeper of stories.
The museum also lets you get up close and personal to species that you usually would not be able to such as this large grizzly bear.
It has a great fossil collection as well including this Sabertooth cat skull.
Some specimens such as this tiger are pulled out on special occasions.
Since the museum is a non-profit museum, it gets money through donations. One of the donation programs that the museum has is called Friends of the Hefner Museum. Its goals are to collect money to create traveling exhibits, increase it’s collection of Ohio vertebrates, restore their dioramas, expand the museum’s awareness, increase museum course offerings, make the exhibits more interactive and also become accredited.
The museum is always creating new exhibits and getting new specimens. This hole in the ground is going to be an ephemeral pool exhibit.
The museum is for all ages, but it has a room just for kids that has a place to play and two fish tanks.
The museum also has a mollusk gallery that is an extensive collection of different species of mollusk.
For more information you can email the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or go the website at http://miamioh.edu/cas/academics/centers/hefner-museum/.
Photos by Tyler GIllette.