Programs & Services

From the Museum’s Collection: Discover Mammals

April 24th, 2018

A new exhibition at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) explores different ways that biological research specimens have been used by scientists.

With more than 100,000 specimens in the Museum’s collections, most are rarely seen by the public. The Discover Mammals exhibit showcases a few of the museum’s specimens from the Bioscience Collection.

“It’s wonderful to bring out a few of our specimens and share them with the public. It’s a small peek at what we preserve in our collections,” said Ayesha Burdett, Director of Collections and Research. “Visitors will learn about the “library of biodiversity” that is stored in our Bioscience collection. The mammals tell us about some important scientific concepts.”

The Museum collaborated with two partners at University of New Mexico (UNM) on the mammal project: the Museum Studies program and the Museum of Southwestern Biology. The exhibit was produced by Lindsey Frederick, a master’s student in the Museum Studies program. 

The exhibit discusses how the specimens have been used for research over the past decades, and how different types of information from the specimens can inform conservation and wildlife management. This highlights the value of preserving these specimens for researchers today, and for scientists to make new discoveries in the future. Each research specimen is like a book, and together they form a library of biodiversity.

“This unique display, focused on the value of research collections at the NMMNHS, also highlights the opportunities for collaboration between the museum and UNM’s Museum Studies Program,” said Loa Traxler, Director of Museum Studies at the University of New Mexico. “Lindsey Frederick wanted to introduce the public to these valuable specimens, preserved for the benefit of future generations but often far away from public view. With support from the university and the museum, she crafted this display that invites the visitor to look closely at these animals and imagine all that they represent about our changing world.”

“We look forward to working with more students in the future, providing hands-on training in the collections and exhibits,” said Margie Marino, the NMMNHS director.

About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science: Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the Museum is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and new year’s day. 1801 Mountain Road NW, northeast of Historic Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque, NM 87104, (505) 841-2800.  Events, news releases and images about activities at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and other divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at


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