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Joseph Moore Museum at Earlham College

Allosaurus SkeletonAn Egyptian mummy and giant pre-historic mammals captivate audiences of all ages. See a pre-historic mastodon, allosaurus skeleton and observe birds and mammals in their natural habitat.

The Joseph Moore Museum, established in 1847 as a teaching collection, was officially named in 1905 for Joseph Moore, the Earlham president and geology professor who originated it. The museum is now staffed almost entirely by Earlham students who design exhibits, maintain collections, and lead tours. As a college program, the museum's hours reflect Earlham's academic schedule.

Admission is free and group tours can be arranged by calling (765) 983-1303 during museum hours, or leave a message and we'll get back to you.

The Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History is located on the Earlham College Campus.

Highlights include:

Marsh Bird Display
Discovery Room - Hands On Exhibit

  • The Ralph Teetor Planetarium

  • Indiana Birds of Prey Exhibit

  • Invertebrate Fossils and Geology Exhibit - displays geological specimens from the local Ordovican limestone.

  • African Mammal Display

  • Arthropod Exhibit

  • Mammal Alcove - displays Indiana mammals in their natural habitat.>

  • Marsh Birds Display

  • Paleontology area - includes skeletons of a mastodon, a giant beaver, a dire wolf, a giant ground sloth, and an allosaurus, in addition to several other specimens. The long-extinct allosaurus is the museum's only dinosaur, but it was only 15,000 years ago that the four giant mammals still lived in Indiana!

  • Discovery Room - with hands-on exhibits that encourage children and adults to touch.

  • Egyptian Mummy

  • Live Snake Collection

Mummy at Joseph Moore Museum

Mounted Moose
Leaf Turtle

Giant Sloth Skeleton

Earlham's Joseph Moore Museum reopens after renovations

(Palladium-Item Story by Millicent Martin, October 16, 2001; Section: Local, Page: 4, 5B)

It's dinosaur and mastodon time.

Area kids (and kids at heart) can get their fill of science at the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History at Earlham College.

The museum reopened Monday to the public after a summer renovation project.

The famous allosaurus and mastodon skeletons, mummy, live snakes and various displays are available for examination.

Work at the museum is part of a $3.2 million renovation project at the Dennis Hall science building. It began in May and was mostly finished in early September. Improvements included new cooling and heating systems, floor tiles, lights, ceilings, doors and more.

Students and faculty have been working to put the exhibits back in order after removing collections for the renovation.

Visitors might notice the painting, cleaning and other visual improvements. Other changes they can feel. Museum director and biology professor John Iverson said the new climate control should help keep the museum warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

About 2,500 kids tour the museum each year, although Iverson expects to surpass that number this year because of additional school groups scheduled.

"It's a very nice way to spend a weekday or weekend afternoon and a wonderful place to bring kids," Iverson said. "If it's a rainy Sunday and you don't know what to do with the kids, bring them out. You can learn something and have a good time, too."

Three faculty members are involved with the museum part time, and about 25 students assist in its operations.

Iverson said students learn exhibit design, specimen storage, how to give tours to elementary students and various other tasks.

He said the students have skills to put on their resumes that they wouldn't gain at other colleges, where work is mostly done by professors and graduate students.

"They learn from top to bottom all of the aspects of the museum," Iverson said.

Iverson said the faculty facilitate the museum's operation and "steer the boat," but the students are the power with their enthusiasm and hard work.

Senior biology major Megan Jenness coordinates tours and said the live snakes and mastodon are the most popular displays for visitors.

"If you get people with a knowledge of science, they are impressed with the quantity and diversity of the collection, especially for a school Earlham's size," Jenness said.

Senior geology major Ben Scherzer is helping with the museum for the first time this semester.

"I've been surprised we've gotten it done so efficiently, considering how much there was to do," Scherzer said about getting the museum ready for the public.

Some of the items that draw visitors include the 15,000-year-old mastodon skeleton, collected by Moore, and a giant ground sloth.

The museum's claim to fame - a giant fossil beaver skeleton - is the only virtually complete specimen in the world.

The museum's Ralph Teetor Planetarium will reopen for regularly scheduled star shows later in the fall.

About Joseph Moore

Joseph Moore was an early Earlham College leader. He taught science and religion in the 1850s and served as president from 1868-1883. Moore had accumulated a collection of props for his classes in the Richmond area as well as during his travels. When he died in 1905, the collection was given his name.

Section: Local
Page: 4, 5B

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