UA Museum Logo with a Bear Skull, Pottery, and Quartz Crystal

The University of Arkansas Museum traces its beginnings to the early geology department collection, which is documented to 1873. From a modest beginning, the collections grew to more than seven million objects encapsulating the fields of archeology, ethnology, history, geology, and zoology. The collections are regionally focused on the state of Arkansas but include representations from across the United States and around the world.




University of Arkansas Museum staff are happy to share the collections with the university community and general public. We can conduct general overview tours, but are able to specialize the tours if requested. Tours are currently conducted by appointment only. There is no fee.

Contact us at or call 479-575-3456 to schedule your tour!

The University of Arkansas Museum is a collecting institution. Our materials come in through a variety of sources, from University community and governmental wildlife organizations that deposit their collections after they have completed their research to citizens who donate valued family items of historical significance. Donations are assessed based on their potential to strengthen existing collections in which the Museum has a current specialization and recognized historical interest, including anthropology, geology, history, and zoology with a particular (but not exclusive) focus on Arkansas.

Contact us at or call 479-575-3456 to discuss your donation request.

Beyond accepting donations, the Museum loans collection materials out for classroom use, research, and exhibits. Please note that the safety and security of collection materials will be assessed prior to accepting any requests. 

Contact us at or call 479-575-3456 to discuss your loan request.  

The University of Arkansas Museum does not conduct appraisals for monetary value of objects for the purpose of establishing a fair market value of gifts offered to the Museum.  Donors desiring to take an income tax deduction must obtain an independent appraisal. Staff members can assist a donor in locating a qualified appraiser, however. 


Archeology Collection

Archeology Collection ExampleThe archeological collections are the largest and most significant collection of Arkansas archeological material anywhere.

The special dry microclimates of shelters located along the river bluff lines preserved many objects from the material culture of the mountains’ native inhabitants not typically preserved.

With 7000 catalogued materials, it is largest single collection of late prehistoric and protohistoric period whole pottery vessels from Arkansas.

These vessels represent late Mississippian Period cultures of the Mississippi and Arkansas River Valleys and Caddoan culture of the Red and Ouachita River regions. They show the artistry and creativity of the prehistoric potters and the daily tasks, activities, lifestyles, and worldview of the potters and their contemporaries.   

While Arkansas is our main regional focus, a small collection of pottery from other areas and cultures of the world are housed here as well, including Greco-Roman, Nazca, and Mimbres.

History Collection

History Collection ExampleThe history collection includes approximately 25,000 objects with an emphasis on historic objects from Arkansas.

The textile collection embraces quilts, coverlets, and linens dating from the middle of the 19th century. Many of the textiles represent the Ozark traditional crafts of spinning and weaving, including baskets by the nationally-recognized craftsman George Gibson.
The American pressed glass collection is one of the largest in the southeastern United States with more than 3,000 pieces. The collection contains representative samples of common North American glassware in use from the late 1870s to 1915. The ceramics collection includes examples of Niloak, an Arkansas art pottery, fine china, and European porcelain figurines. 

Military items include University of Arkansas cadet uniforms and accessories, Civil War memorabilia, and uniforms and accessories from World War I and II.

The Museum has turned a collecting focus to three-dimensional UA memorabilia, such as Razorback figurines and letterman jackets.

Ethnology Collection

Ethnology Collection ExampleThe small but focused ethnology collection consists of more than 2,300 contemporary and historic objects representing the material cultures of several non-European societies.

Especially represented by the collection are utilitarian objects that illustrate the lifeways of central African tribal peoples, ceremonial masks from Mexico, ceremonial and decorative objects from the South Pacific islands, and decorative objects made by the Plains Indians.

The collection also has examples of utilitarian objects that have been removed from their context and now function as art and craft objects. These include Southwestern ceramics, basketry representative of all United States Native American tribal groups, a complete collection of Hopi kachinas, and wood carvings by the Seri people of Mexico.

Geology Collection

Geology Collection ExampleThe geology collection includes numerous specimens of fossils and minerals with emphasis on specimens from Arkansas.

The geology collection includes numerous fine specimens of fossils and minerals with a particular emphasis on specimens from Arkansas.

The Museum holds more than 12,000 rock and mineral specimens including the Hugh D. Miser Collection consisting of 5,725 Arkansas and Brazilian quartz crystals. An alumnus of the University of Arkansas, Miser worked as a staff geologist for the United States Geological Survey. He donated these crystals from his collection in 1954.

The Museum holds a mixture of North American and European invertebrate, vertebrate, and plant fossil specimens. Highlights include a Pleistocene mammoth found near Hazen, Arkansas in 1965, the Arkansas State Dinosaur Arkansaurus fridayi, and a 180 million-year-old fossil crocodile from Germany.

Beyond fossils and minerals, the Museum is also a repository for the UA Tree-Ring Laboratory for their tree-ring samples. The samples hold valuable data for environmental history.

Zoology Collection

Zoology Collection ExampleThe Zoology Division contains approximately 90,000 lots. Most of these are from Northwest Arkansas, but representative specimens from throughout the world are included as well.

Study skins from J.A. Sealander, professor emeritus of zoology, comprise most of the mammal collection. Articulated and disarticulated skeletons are also held, including 350 coyote skulls donated by Phil Gipson and 250 bobcat skulls from Steve Fritz. A series of black bear skeletons is being accumulated from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as well.
Approximately 1,000 study skins from Douglas James, co-author of Arkansas Birds, form the main portion of the collection. The collection also contains 1,678 sets of eggs from 551 species collected by Wheeler, Luther, and Tomlinson earlier in the century.

Approximately 4,000 lots of amphibians and reptiles comprise this collection. Most of these have been donated by the Department of Biological Sciences field classes.

The fish collection consists of 2,000 lots, mostly from Arkansas. Recent cooperation with James E. Johnson of the U.S. Geological Service Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit has resulted in the acquisition of specimens from new locations in the state, including the Buffalo River area.
Most specimens are mollusks from the A. J. Brown Collection, but there are other mollusks collected by Davis, Parmalee, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Barnacles, isopods, and terrestrial sails collected by David Causey, professor emeritus of biology, are also present.