The Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) at the University of Oregon in Eugene is a museum dedicated to enhancing knowledge and understanding of the Earth's environments and cultures, and inspiring stewardship of the past, present, and future.
Established in 1935 as the Oregon State Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Natural History, the museum is the primary repository for publicly owned collections in the state of Oregon. The Museum began with an impressive fossil collection gathered by Thomas Condon known as the Condon Collection which formed the base of the extensive collection of archaeological and ethnographic objects, biological specimens, and fossils that the Museum houses today.
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History features a range of engaging exhibits that explore and interpret a variety of objects with the aim of enhancing awareness, appreciation, and understanding, of the natural and cultural history of Oregon and the world.
‘The New Oregon – Where Past is Present’ is a newly enhanced exhibit that delves into the history of Oregon dating back to the archaeology of the first Americans through to the dynamic cultures of today’s tribes. The exhibition showcases 14,000 years of Oregon stories through hands-on experiences, interactive technology, and world-class collection.
‘Paisley Caves and the First Americans’ takes a look at the first people who arrived in North America and their evolving story through artifacts and fossils found in Oregon’s Paisley Caves.
‘Strung Together – Beads, People, and History’ is a vibrant exhibition that celebrates beads and beadwork from around the world. Dating back thousands of years and spanning six continents, the exhibit features items from the Museum’s anthropological collections, as well as beautiful beaded works by contemporary artists.
‘Explore Oregon’ takes a look at the dynamic forces that shape Oregon’s ecosystems, climate, and landscapes with impressive displays of animals such as the giant sloth, the sabertooth salmon, and other amazing animals.
‘Many Nations – Oregon Tribal Flags’ is a colorful presentation of the flags of the nine independent tribal nations of Oregon and their history and meaning.
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is also home to the Glenn Starlin Native Plant Courtyard - a living research collection of Oregon’s native plants based on the Museum. The Courtyard features over 120 species of plants native to Oregon and has identification and interpretive signs and booklets that provide visitors with information about the flora and the geology of the region. The garden and courtyard are also filled with beautiful hammered copper sculptures of bears, ravens, eagles and salmon by Oregon artist, Wayne Chabre.
The Glenn Starlin Native Plant Courtyard has a horseshoe-shaped path which acts as a walkable timeline where visitors can experience and explore more than four billion years of earth history. The trail features beautiful inlaid tiles arranged to represent the fossil record as it occurred in the evolutionary history of the planet and showcase the biological evolution of life on earth
Outside the Museum are three interesting pieces of Oregon’s geologic history, namely a large granite boulder from the end of the last Ice Age that was transported from Montana to the Willamette Valley during the catastrophic Missoula floods, a replica of the Willamette meteorite, and a 26-million-year-old piece of petrified wood.
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) is located on the University of Oregon Campus at 1680 E. 15th Avenue in Eugene and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Museum Store, Past and Presents, offers a unique variety of items, books, jewelry, and clothing, as well as artifacts and gifts that reflect the museum's exhibits, collections and research. Items include arts crafted by local and regional artists, woodwork, glass, and pottery, books on the cultural and natural history of the Northwest, jewelry, and accessories, and fun and educational gifts for children of all ages.
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History offers a variety of educational and community programs for adults, students, scholars, and families. Programs include Archeological Lecture Series for adults and students, Summer Camps and No-School Days for kids, Little Wonders, Community Outreach Programs, Ideas on Tap, Guided Community Tours, and various workshops.
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1680 E. 15th Avenue, Eugene, website, Phone: 97-403-1224
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