Main Gallery

green sea turtle in main gallery

Welcome to the Robert A Hefner Museum of Natural History at Miami University.  The museum is dedicated to promoting an understanding of, and an appreciation for, nature and the human place in it.

The museum exists to increase our knowledge of natural history.  In particular, it empahsizes the biota of Southwest Ohio.  It seeks to develop in its constituencies an understanding of, and an appreciation for, biodiversity, conservation, and ecology through the systematic collection, care, and display of specimens for exhibition, research, and education.

Environmental education is a specific focus of the museum.  We believe that effective environmental education helps people:

  • understand how nature works;
  • appreciate the interdependence of all life, thus respecting both the living and nonliving components of the biosphere;
  • recognize that environmental problems are caused by the interaction between natural and cultural systems;
  • adopt an interdisciplinary approach to solving those problems; and
  • act to prevent or solve environment problems, should we choose to do so.

These criteria inform all of our exhibits and programs.  They form the foundation upon which the museum is designed.

Many of the specimens on display have been the property of the Hefner Museum of Natural History for decades.   To celebrate the amazing diversity of living things, we have made every attempt to exhibit them in a respectful manner.  Over the past half-century, and especially in the more recent past, practitioners in many disciplines, particularly ecology and ethics, have broadened our view of non-human life.  Consequently, current museum policy dictates that we will not kill animals solely for the purpose of collecting and displaying them; we will acquire new specimens only when animals die by natural causes or through an accident. We accept donations of established collections, amassed by scientists or other collectors, that are in keeping with the mission of the museum.  Additionally, we use models in place of specimens when necessary.  Anyone wishing to donate a specimen should contact the Director at (513) 529-4617.