Since 1968, the Karl E. Limper Geology Museum has been serving Miami University, residents of southwestern Ohio, area schools, and local geologists—both amateur and professional. Initially known as the Miami University Geology Museum, it was renamed in 1982 to honor Dr. Karl E. Limper, who taught at Miami between 1958 and 1981.

Even before the Department of Geology was created in 1920, faculty teaching geology at Miami obtained and used collections in their teaching efforts. Between 1920 and 1967, when the department occupied Brice Hall, a few display cases highlighting teaching and research collections were present, but central organization was lacking. These collections were essential to teaching classes in introductory geology, earth history, mineralogy, petrology, and paleontology.

During planning for a new building (Shideler Hall) in the early 1960s, faculty and administrators had the foresight to designate space for a museum to house, maintain, and properly display the department's various collections. This approach, rooted in the recognition that geology is a collections-based science, greatly facilitated undergraduate education in geology.

From this point forward, the department and the museum grew in mutually complementary ways because of the close relationships between the museum's displays and holdings and the department's courses in paleontology, earth history, mineralogy, sedimentology, and petrology. Importantly, this relationship continues in the present day in an even more diverse manner.

The goal of enhancing the undergraduate educational experience at Miami University has always been at the center of the museum's mission.

The museum entered a new era as a result of a total renovation of Shideler Hall in 2014-15, reopening in 2016 in a totally new space adjacent to the main entry and lobby of Shideler Hall. The fresh modern design, conceived with input from Miami students, includes a 48-inch diameter interactive digital OmniGlobe® and all new displays.