Inspiring people to care about life on Earth.

Our Mission

Understanding, preserving and interpreting biological diversity and cultural heritage to ensure their survival for future generations.

Our Impact

Inspiring people to value the biological richness and cultural heritage of our diverse world and make a positive difference in its future.

Our Vision

The Florida Museum of Natural History is a leading authority in biodiversity and cultural heritage, using its expertise to advance knowledge, solve real world problems, and impact public policy and perception. An engaging and impactful hub for teaching and learning science, the Museum has been particularly successful at utilizing research collections and making them accessible to diverse audiences, demonstrating relevance in their daily lives. In so doing, the Florida Museum of Natural History inspires people to value the biological richness and cultural heritage of our diverse world and make a positive difference in its future.

The role of the Florida Museum of Natural History as the official natural history museum for the State of Florida is defined by Florida Statute §1004.56 which states:

The functions of the Florida Museum of Natural History, located at the University of Florida, are to make scientific investigations toward the sustained development of natural resources and a greater appreciation of human cultural heritage, including, but not limited to, biological surveys, ecological studies, environmental impact assessments, in-depth archaeological research, and ethnological analyses, and to collect and maintain a depository of biological, archaeological, and ethnographic specimens and materials in sufficient numbers and quantities to provide within the state and region a base for research on the variety, evolution, and conservation of wild species; the composition, distribution, importance, and functioning of natural ecosystems; and the distribution of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites and an understanding of the aboriginal and early European cultures that occupied them. State institutions, departments, and agencies may deposit type collections from archaeological sites in the museum, and it shall be the duty of each state institution, department, and agency to cooperate by depositing in the museum voucher and type biological specimens collected as part of the normal research and monitoring duties of its staff and to transfer to the museum those biological specimens and collections in its possession but not actively being curated or used in the research or teaching of that institution, department, or agency. The Florida Museum of Natural History is empowered to accept, preserve, maintain, or dispose of these specimens and materials in a manner which makes each collection and its accompanying data available for research and use by the staff of the museum and by cooperating institutions, departments, agencies, and qualified independent researchers. The biological, archaeological, and ethnographic collections shall belong to the state with the title vested in the Florida Museum of Natural History, except as provided in s. 267.12(3). In collecting or otherwise acquiring these collections, the museum shall comply with pertinent state wildlife, archaeological, and agricultural laws and rules. However, all collecting, quarantine, and accreditation permits issued by other institutions, departments, and agencies shall be granted routinely for said museum research study or collecting effort on state lands or within state jurisdiction which does not pose a significant threat to the survival of endangered wild species, habitats, or ecosystems. In addition, the museum shall develop exhibitions and conduct programs which illustrate, interpret, and explain the natural history of the state and region and shall maintain a library of publications pertaining to the work as herein provided. The exhibitions, collections, and library of the museum shall be open, free to the public, under suitable rules to be promulgated by the director of the museum and approved by the University of Florida.

Other statutes, FS §1004.57, 1004.575, 1004.576, establish the Program of Vertebrate Paleontology within the Florida Museum of Natural History to protect and preserve vertebrate fossils on state lands, and provide for the museum to regulate the collection of those fossils by issuing permits for collecting on state lands.

Museum Locations

The Museum occupies three principal facilities on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville and the Randell Research Center in southwest Florida.

Powell Hall is the Museum’s main Education and Exhibition Center. Open to the public continuously since January 1998, this facility houses exhibits and public education programs. It is located between the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in the UF Cultural Plaza at 3215 Hull Road, just east of Southwest 34th Street on the western edge of the University of Florida campus. Visitors to Powell Hall will encounter exciting temporary exhibits and signature permanent exhibition halls that explore the state’s unique habitats and rich cultural history. Powell Hall visitation information

Exhibits & Public Programs

Florida Museum of Natural History
Powell Hall
3215 Hull Road
PO Box 112710
University of Florida
Gainesville FL 32611-2710

Main phone: 352-846-2000

McGuire Hall is the Museum’s newest addition, a 35,000-square-foot facility housing the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, the world’s largest center devoted to Lepidoptera collections-based research and education, as well as a living butterfly vivarium. The collection, including specimens once located in the Allyn Museum of Entomology in Sarasota, is one of the largest in the world. The Lepidoptera research facilities also are among the finest in the world. Visitors can explore the “Wall of Wings,” which reaches nearly three stories high and 200 feet long, and contains more than 13,000 images and actual Lepidoptera specimens, information panels, videos and maps. The center also features the 6,400-square-foot Butterfly Rainforest permanent exhibit, a screened enclosure of lush tropical trees and plants with waterfalls and a walking trail that supports hundreds of living butterflies and moths from all corners of the globe.

McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity

Florida Museum of Natural History
McGuire Hall
3215 Hull Road
PO Box 112710
University of Florida
Gainesville FL 32611-2710

Main phone: 352-392-5894

Dickinson Hall, home to the Museum since the early 1970s, houses most of the collections and research activities as well as the University of Florida Herbarium. Dickinson Hall is visited primarily by scientists and university students engaged in collections-based natural history research involving the Museum’s extensive neontological, paleontological and anthropological/archaeological holdings. This building is not open to the public. Dickinson Hall visitation information

Collections & Research

Florida Museum of Natural History
Dickinson Hall
1659 Museum Road
PO Box 117800
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611-7800

Main phone: 352-392-1721

The Museum also manages the 60-acre Randell Research Center, an internationally significant archaeological site on Pine Island near Fort Myers. Randell Research Center visitation information

Randell Research Center

Florida Museum of Natural History
Randell Research Center
7450 Pineland Road
PO Box 608
Pineland, FL 33945-0608

Main phone: 239-283-2062

Museum Departments

Museum Director Douglas S. Jones, Ph.D., is chief executive officer, overseeing Museum planning and policy, exhibits and public programs, budgets, personnel, development and infrastructure in consultation with the Administrative Committee. Administrative Committee members include the Associate Director for Operations; the Associate Director for Collections and Research and Natural History Department Chair; Assistant Directors in charge of Budget and Human Resources, Exhibits and Public Programs, Marketing and Public Relations and Museum Technology; the Directors of Development, the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity and Center for Informal Science Education; and the Senior Museum Representative to the University of Florida Faculty Senate.

Includes:

The Director’s Office and the offices of Budget and Human Resources and Museum Technology are located in Dickinson Hall.

The Museum director serves on the UF Administrative Council and reports to the provost as delegated by the president. For external affairs, the director works with the President’s Office and the Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs. The director also works closely with the Florida Museum Associates Board, a fundraising and membership support group.

The Museum’s Education and Exhibition Center is located in the UF Cultural Plaza at Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road. The facility houses the Exhibits and Public Programs administrative offices in addition to the Center for Science Learning and the Development, Marketing and Public Relations, Security and Visitor Services departments.

The Florida Museum’s artisans, technicians and educators interpret Florida’s rich environment and cultural diversity through exhibits and educational programs. Always using the most current information, Exhibits and Public Programs designs exhibits, plans classes, organizes special programs and prepares educational materials that reach visitors from across the state, nation and world. The department also presents the natural history and culture of Florida and the Caribbean and trains Museum docents to lead guided tours.

In July 1999, the Museum’s departments of Anthropology, Interpretation and Natural Sciences merged to create the Department of Natural History. The department’s faculty curators, or professors, and full-time staff are responsible for increasing and managing the state’s natural history collections. Faculty members are tenured in the Museum and teach courses and supervise students through eight UF academic departments.

The department’s mission is to investigate and interpret human cultures and the natural world. This includes documenting, preserving and interpreting a systematic record of biodiversity, past and present; educating students and others about the natural world; and sharing expertise, collections and information with colleagues, students and the public. Although worldwide in scope, the collections emphasize Florida, the Southeast United States and the Caribbean, and form the basis for the Museum’s exhibits and public programs.

In southwest Florida the department operates the Randell Research Center at Pineland, a research and educational outreach program of the Museum. Located on more than 50 acres in coastal Lee County, the site offers interpretive walking trails through Calusa archaeological features, public archaeology, a teaching classroom, bookstore, research facilities and more.

The Museum opened the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity in 2004. Located in the UF Cultural Plaza, the center is the world’s largest Lepidoptera research facility and houses one of the world’s largest collections of butterflies and moths. The center is devoted to collections-based research, public education and a living vivarium, the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit. This 6,400-square-foot screened enclosure features waterfalls and a walking trail, and is landscaped with tropical trees and plants to support hundreds of living butterflies and moths from around the world. Inside, visitors can explore other butterfly exhibits, including the “Wall of Wings,” which reaches nearly three stories high and 200 feet long, and includes thousands of images and actual Lepidoptera specimens, information panels, videos and maps.