The anthropology collection contains a modest number of ethnographic and archaeological artifacts sufficient in depth to provide instructional opportunities for Central Michigan University students in the proper curatorial procedures encountered in a museum of anthropology. The ethnographic collections contain artifacts from Africa, India, Pakistan and North American Native American groups. The archaeological collections contain artifactual material from a variety of donated surface collections as well s several sites that were excavated by CMU field schools.
The zoology collection consists of a wide range of representative specimens typically found in the Great Lakes region. The collection consists predominantly of Michigan specimens and has been built over the last 50 years. The primary collections consist of representatives of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and insects. These collections are sufficient in number to support the educational and research efforts of most CMU science students and faculty members. The bird collection, which is our most extensive biological collection, is the third largest collection in the state of Michigan. Both the bird (approx. 7,000 specimens) and mammal (approx. 2,000 specimens) collections contain complete scientific data.
The museum's geology collection consists of a limited number of fossil plants, fossil animals, minerals and rocks. The museum houses the largest Petoskey stone ever found in Michigan. The specimen was found near Charlevoix in 1972 and weighs 420 pounds. Also in the museum's collection is the mastodon skeleton found in 1965 near Riverdale, Michigan. Another interesting specimen is a whale jaw found near Detroit. Radiocarbon dating suggested it is approximately 800 years old. As yet, there is no satisfying explanation for its presence in Michigan.
The museum's historical collection includes approximately 13,000 artifacts. The focus of the collection is on regional history from the middle of the 1800s on. Represented in the collection are artifacts related to Michigan's llumbering and pioneering eras. The collection includes a full range of articles used in everyday life including bottles, phonograph records, clothing, and woodworking tools. These artifacts are used to enhance classroom experiences for CMU students.