The Museum of Natural and Cultural History enhances knowledge of Earth's environments and cultures, inspiring stewardship of our collective past, present, and future.
The museum is a center of interdisciplinary research and education, serving the State of Oregon, the University of Oregon, Native American Tribes, the research community, K-12 students and teachers, and the wider public in Oregon and beyond.
Officially created in 1935-36 as the Oregon State Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Natural History, the museum has its roots in the late 1800s, when geologist Thomas Condon joined the University of Oregon as one of its first three professors and brought his extensive fossil collection to the UO. Known as the Condon Fossil Collection, the assemblage remains at the heart of the museum's paleontological collections.
During the 1930s, archaeologist and founding director Luther Cressman established the museum as a major engine of archaeological research in the state. Today, the MNCH is the State of Oregon's official repository for publicly owned collections and is home to hundreds of thousands of ethnographic and archaeological objects, fossils, and biological specimens from Oregon and around the world. Samplings of these collections are available in our collections galleries.
The museum annually welcomes more than 30,000 visitors and serves another 20,000 Oregonians through its statewide outreach programs. A winner of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the museum is fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, distinguishing it as one of the very best museums in the nation.