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Joseph Moore Museum

On Exhibit

Explore the natural world, past and present, from Richmond’s Ordovician past (350 million years ago) to the impacts of climate change today. See the giant beaver, mastodon, passenger pigeons, and other now extinct species. Catch a Planetarium Show. Meet our reptiles. Explore the ancient world, too, by learning about the life of the mummy Ta'an. 


Our live reptiles are perennial favorites. Meet Judi the green iguana, 2% the milk snake, and their many friends. Our hosts will be happy to take out a snake or lizard for you to meet upclose.


Richmond is home to the only two Egyptian mummies in Indiana. Ta'an was purchased for the Earlham College collection in 1889 by President Mills. A recent grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is helping us develop an improved preservation plan for her. Studies including X-Rays and a CT scan have provided hints about her life. 

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The Ralph Teetor Planetarium at the Joseph Moore Museum is open for public shows each day the museum is open. Groups and tours can request private planetarium showings in advance. All Planetarium shows are free. 

The planetarium provides the campus and community with a place to explore the universe. With its state of the art digital projector, visitors can learn about the constellations and the mythology behind them, they can zoom in for a close-up look at the planets and their moons as well as other galaxies and nebulae. Visitors can also view fun and educational full-dome movies. See the events page for more information on our upcoming movies! 

The planetarium opened in 1978, thanks to a donation from local businessman and Earlham College board member Ralph Teetor. Mr. Teetor was President of Perfect Circle Corporation in Hagerstown, Indiana. Though Perfect Circle's piston rings were world famous in the automotive community, Ralph would come to be most commonly known as the inventor of cruise control.

At the dedication of the planetarium on February 10, 1978, Earlham President Landrum Bolling said, "Ralph Teetor has always had the sense of aspiring to the stars, so the planetarium is an appropriate symbol of the spirit of the man who made it possible."


The newly updated Pleistocene Giants exhibit explores what our region looked like from about 2.5 million years ago until 11,000 years ago. Many perennial favorite specimens are here including the Randolph Mastodon, a giant sloth, smilodon and the giant beaver.


Indiana is home to many raptors--you probably see them all the time in your yard or in nearby parks. Learn about these masterful hunters and the adaptations that make them so well suited to forests, grasslands, and waterways.


The Joseph Moore Museum offers opportunities for all ages to engage with science and explore the natural world. Our museum guides are happy to provide tours or you can explore on your own. 

Exhibits include Indiana Marshes, Insects, Native Peoples, Mammals, and Moore ...



Note that the physical museum is currently closed to discourage the spread of the Covid-19 virus. We are working on developing new special programs for you online, including birthday parties and virtual tours. Check our youtube channel for at-home activities you can do and visit our FaceBook page for announcements about special programs this fall/winter.

The Joseph Moore Museum offers many programs for the general public and educators. For the schedule of upcoming events, escape rooms, and programs check our calendar. Educators can explore our online resources and field trip programs by scrolling to the Education & Group Programs section below.

Full Dome Movies use the unique curved screen of the planetarium to project immersive 20-40 minute long movies every Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. We present a new movie each month exploring various topics. Tickets are free. Contact us for more information.

Celebrate your birthday at the Joseph Moore Museum with a planetarium show and a live animal experience. Your party will include: 

  • A private planetarium show and a visit with our reptiles
  • Time to explore our galleries
  • A dedicated space for cake or other food (food and paper products not provided)
  • 2-3 party facilitators from our team of trained student guides
  • Pin-on birthday party buttons for all kids with a special one for the birthday child! 


  • $150 for up to 12 kids; $10 per child for each additional child over 12. (Base price is for a 2-hour party that includes all of the above)
  • If there are over 25 people (including kids and chaperones, a charge of $25 will be applied.
  • The maximum number of people is 30.
  • Parties extended past 2 hours will be charged at the cost of $50 per half hour.
  • A $50 non-refundable deposit to hold date is due at the time of reservation.
  • Balance due may be paid on the day of the party and will be adjusted based on attendance and add ons. No refund will be given for no shows.
  • Refunds given for notice of 48 hours in advance.

Additional Options:

  • A special full dome movie in our planetarium ($25)
  • Custom gift bags with items from our gift shop (prices vary)
  • A Dinosaur Breakout designed for children ($2/child)
  • A craft with the theme of space, nature, or dinosaurs ($10)

 To reserve your date and plan the perfect party call Sharon Oler 765-983-1303.

Giant Beaver Breakout headline

Dennis Hall is on fire and your team must save the Giant Beaver skeleton before it's too late. You will have 60 minutes to crack codes, find clues, solve puzzles, and save the world's most complete giant beaver skeleton before it becomes toast! This isn't an average weekend activity, this is a 60-minute challenge for people who like to solve mysteries and puzzles.

Successful players earn a commemorative "I Saved the Giant Beaver" button, and your group's photo will be posted on our Instagram page. Appropriate for ages 13 and up.

 Event Information 

  • Giant Beaver Breakouts run at 8:00 PM every Friday night.
  • Tickets: $10 per person 
  • A minimum of 4 people is necessary to complete a breakout. Breakouts are most fun with 8-10 people. We will combine groups as needed to make a complete team. This activity is suitable for ages 15 and over.
  • Email us at josephmooremuseum@gmail.com or reserve online here for Giant Beaver Breakout. To ensure adequate staffing, reservations are required by 5pm on the evening of choice. 
  • Please arrive ten minutes in advance. All breakouts begin in the lobby of the Joseph Moore Museum. 

Upcoming Dates: For the health and safety of our community, breakouts are currently suspended. We hope to see you back at the museum soon.

2018 Egypt Breakout Banner

Ta'an's scarab is lost! Can you find it? 

You will have 60 minutes to crack codes, find clues, solve puzzles, and resue the scarab that has been stolen from Ta'an. This isn't an average weekend activity, this is a challenge for people who like to solve mysteries and puzzles.

Successful players earn a commemorative "I Found the Scarab" button, and your group's photo will be posted on JMM's Instagram. 

Event Information 

  • Egypt Escape Room run at 8:00 PM every Saturday night.
  • Tickets: $10 per person 
  • A minimum of 4 people is necessary to complete a breakout. Breakouts are most fun with 8-10 people. We will combine groups as needed to make a complete team. This activity is suitable for ages 15 and over.
  • Email us at josephmooremuseum@gmail.com or reserve online here for Egypt Escape Room. Reservations are requiredby 5pm on the date of your choice. 
  • Please arrive ten minutes in advance. All breakouts begin in the lobby of the Joseph Moore Museum. 

Upcoming Dates: For the health and safety of our staff and guests, breakouts are currently suspended. We look forward to seeing you at the Museum soon.

Dino Breakout

Can you rescue the dinosaurs before the volcano erupts?

In this special challenge just for kids, you will have 30 minutes to crack codes, find clues, solve puzzles, and save the Allosaurus! This isn't an average weekend activity--this is a fast-paced challenge for people who like to solve mysteries and puzzles.

  • Each game can accommodate up to 10 people, so sign up early to reserve your spot.
  • Dino Breakouts run at 6:30 PM every Friday and Saturday night.
  • Tickets: $5 per person
  • You may pay in person at the event but spots are available on a first come, first served basis. A minimum of 4 people is necessary to complete a breakout. We reserve the right to combine small groups. This breakout is designed for ages 6-12 with adult assistance.
  • Email us at josephmooremuseum@gmail.com or call 765-983-1303 to reserve. 
  • Reservation required by 5 pm on day of breakout
  • Please arrive ten minutes early as the breakout will begin promptly at the start time.

 Upcoming Dates: For the health and safety of our staff and guests, breakouts are currently suspended. We look forward to seeing you at the Museum soon.


Collections & Research

The Joseph Moore Museum displays just a small portion of our research collection which comprises more than 60,000 specimens. The collection documents the biodiversity of our region as well as illustrating many species from around the world. It is a resource for teaching and research worldwide.


The JMM has an ethnographic and archaeological collection that includes everything from Babylonian tablets to Roman lamps, stone tools from local Native American mound sites and an authentic Egyptian mummy. The collection consists of over 2,000 pieces. It houses objects from around the world including Egypt, Japan, Africa, and the Americas. The JMM is not actively collecting archaeological or ethnographic materials, but maintains its current collection for educational purposes.


Fox, H. (2012) Analyzing Textile Artifacts in the Joseph Moore Museum Anthropology Collection


At the Joseph Moore Museum the herpetology collection is devoted to the maintenance and care of our 1,290 specimens that includes 456 genera and 684 different species. Almost half of all the specimens are from Indiana and the surrounding area, providing a catalog of both native and invasive species. The collection also contains reptiles and amphibians from over 30 states and 19 countries.

The Mammal Collection at the Joseph Moore Museum includes more than 4,000 specimens from 26 countries and 44 different states. Almost 2,000 of these have been collected throughout Indiana, making the museum a vital resource for research on native species. Of particular note is the museum’s extensive collection of bats from around the world collected by Jim Cope. For decades much of the collection has been prepared by Earlham College students and faculty working side by side, demonstrating how JMM values being able to provide opportunities for students to obtain hands-on experience.

With over 6,500 individual specimens, the scope of which extend over four continents, the bird collection at the Joseph Moore Museum has been a resource in avian research for decades. Many of the specimens have been used in genetic sampling and population surveys by both Earlham College students and researchers across the country. The collection maintains over 400 genera and 700 species from 43 countries; among them are several Passenger Pigeons, (Ectopistes migratorius), a Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja), an Ostrich (Struthio camelus) and Whooping Cranes (Grus americana). 


Lerner, H. R. L., Johnson, J. A., Lindsay, A. R., Kiff, L. and Mindell, D. P. (2009) Mitochondrial genetic diversity and differentiation among Harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja).  [open access version]

The Vertebrate Paleontology collection at the Joseph Moore Museum is proud to house one of the most important specimens of Pleistocene mammals in the world. The Giant Beaver (Casteroides ohioensis) skeleton on display is the single most complete specimen of its species. Discovered in 1889 in eastern Randolph County, Indiana, it was acquired for the museum by Joseph Moore. In addition to the beaver skeleton, the collection contains 139 specimens from 25 states and 15 countries. These include a mastodon (Mastodon americanus) composite skeleton and a bison skull that is widely considered the best ever found in Indiana.


Woodman, N. and N. Beavan Athfield. (2009) Post-Clovis survival of American Mastodon in the southern Great Lakes Region of North America. Quaternary Research, 72(3): 359-363.

Woodman, N. and J. W. Branstrator. (2008) The Overmyer Mastodon (Mammut americanum) from Fulton County, Indiana. American Midland Naturalist, 159(1): 125-146.

Digitization at the JMM: The Bird, Mammal and Herpetology Collections are available online. 

Museums around the world are working together to make data from specimens readily available to scientists and the general public. In 2014, JMM received a three year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to digitize our bird, mammal and herpetology collections. Some of the data in our collections are sensitive; access to the database at this time is by request only. If you are interested, please contact Collections Manager, Ann-Eliza Lewis who will be happy to provide login information for research. In 2018 we received a second IMLS grant to digitize our insect collections. 


Imls _logo _2cNEH-Preferred -Seal 820


 Specimen Loans


The Joseph Moore Museum welcomes visiting researchers to study our collections both independently and in cooperation with our own staff. We strive to accommodate requests for loans or exchanges of data, samples and specimens. Please review the following information in order to set up a visit and make the most of your time here at the museum. To request a tissue sample or work in the collections:

  • A detailed description of your research project, including the authorizing institution.
  • For students, include the name and contact information of the faculty advisor or supervising scientist. Include C.V.s for all involved. 
  • A timeline for all stages of research.
  • The estimated number and type of all specimens required.
  • A description of how the specimens from the JMM will be incorporated into the research (list of species/specimens, number needed, types of analyses, etc.). 
  • An explanation of funding available to complete the research.
  • Please describe the plan for products of the research, including any leftover specimen, DNA, slide, samples, etc.

All inquiries should be addressed to Dr. Ann-Eliza Lewis and may be sent electronically or via regular mail to: 

Ann-Eliza Lewis, Collections Manager
Joseph Moore Museum
801 National Rd., West
Richmond, IN 47374 
or to: lewisan@earlham.edu

JMM may require additional information before responding, please be sure to include complete contact information.

Education & Group Programs

Our tours are perfect for class field trips, scouts, and other groups who want an in-depth, interactive experience. Trained, certified Earlham College students lead engaging, interactive tours that meet state education standards. Our programs are always free of charge for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and nonprofit organizations. We mix and match programs to create a customized experience that meets your classroom needs. Given our student tour guides’ academic commitments, we occasionally have to make last minute adjustments, but we will always do our best to accommodate your tour needs. 


For more information please email JMM-Tours@earlham.edu

Educational outreach is supported by the Stamm Koechlein Family Foundation and the Borman Family Foundation.


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Travel back in time to the sands of ancient of Egypt and the characters who shaped its history. Investigate the mysterious mummy, Ta’an.  Who was she?  How were mummies made?  How can modern science help us solve her mysteries?  You will learn how paper was invented in Egypt with the papyrus plant, try your luck at a game Ta’an may have played, and experience a planetarium show based on Egyptian mythology (~50-80 minutes). Best for Grade 6

(Ohio State Social Studies Standards) Ancient Civilizations
Indiana World History Standards: 6.1.1, 6.1.2, 6.1.3 
Indiana Geography Standards: GHW: 6.1.1, 6.1.2, 6.4.1, 6.4.3, 6.4.5, 6.5.1  

Travel through time down a 100-foot timeline back 10,000 years to discover who was here and what was happening in Wayne County.  You’ll meet giant ice-age mammals, the ancient Adena people, Joseph Moore, Ralph Teetor, present day local wildlife and a “Skies over Richmond” Planetarium Show. (~90 minutes) Best for Grade 3 

Science Standards:

Indiana Science Standards: 3.4.1, 3.4.5, 3.6.3

Indiana Social Studies Standards: 3.1.2, 3.1.4, 3.1.5, 3.1.7

Become an archeologist and learn about the ancient Adena who lived here more than 2,000 years ago. What did they look like?  What did they do?  What steps do archeologists take to figure out the answers to these questions? How do anthropologists understand their culture? Imagine how the Adena fed their families by learning to throw a spear and grind corn just like they did. Best for Grade 4 

Indiana Social Studies Standards: 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.1.5

Meet some really big characters in our paleontology collection. Our ever-popular allosaurus is always a hit with the dinosaur lovers, but our huge ice-age mammal skeletons are equally awe-inspiring. Think like a paleontologist to envision how and what these animals ate, how they hunted, what they looked like, and speculate why they died. Best for Grades 1 & 5.

Science Standards:

Indiana Science Standards: 1.3.1, 1.3.3, 1.3.4, 1.3.5; 5.3.1, 5.4.1

Discover the amazing things in the sky above us. Observe the phases of the moon, find constellations, visit the planets and their moons, and even learn about the technology that helps us study space and how some of that technology makes life better in our very own homes. Our digital projector allows us to get up close and personal with the planets and their moons.  Older students can view a full-dome movie about the history of astronomy. (~45-90 minutes) Best for Grades 1, 3, 5 & 6 (all ages)

Science Standards:
    1.1.1, 1.1.3, 1.2.6, 1.6.1
    3.1.7, 3.2.4, 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.6.3
    5.1.4, 5.3.1, 5.3.2, 5.3.3
    6.1.6, 6.1.7, 6.2.2, 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.3

Have a close encounter of the scaly kind!  Meet our live reptiles and learn what turtles, lizards and snakes have in common and what makes them unique. Debunk some common snake myths and touch the spiky skin of one of our bearded dragons! Our snake program takes visitors under the skin of the snake by learning about shedding and vertebrae! Best for Grades 1 & 2

Science Standards:

1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, 1.2.6, 1.4.2, 1.4.3, 1.4.4, 1.5.3

2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.2.5, 2.4.1, 2.4.2, 2.4.3, 2.4.4, 2.4.5

Unearth the types of organisms that lived in Richmond millions of years ago during the Ordovician Period. Learn about how they differed from each other and the things that live in Richmond now, and discover what historical changes made these fossils possible.Best for Grades 1, 2, 3, & 5

Science Standards:

1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.6, 1.4.2, 1.4.3, 1.4.4, 1.6.1
2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.1.5, 2.4.1, 2.4.4, 2.5.6, 2.6.2
3.1.2, 3.2.4, 3.4.1, 3.4.2, 3.4.3, 3.6.3
5.1.3, 5.4.4, 5.4.5, 5.4.8

Scavenger hunts in the museum can be customized to the interests, abilities and time constraints of your group. Directed exploration encourages students to interact with collections throughout the museum or through a single topical area. Contact us to discuss what might work best for your class. Best for grades 4, 5 & 6 

Think you know the order of the planets in our solar system? Know how far apart from each other they are? Test your knowledge in this interactive and cooperative model solar system activity.

What is an insect? Is everything we think of as bugs an insect? Learn what makes an insect, quiz yourself with our interactive exhibit, and meet one of the JMM's Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

Thanks to the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE), the JMM has many earth and space activities that can be customized to your class. Pick from activities including create your own nebula, astroid mining, universe expansion, filtered light, and much more. Most activities take 15 minutes or less and pair well with a planetarium show or the solar system activity. When you call to schedule your tour we can pick which activities are best for your group.

What is hibernation and why do some animals do it? How can animals go so long without eating and how can they stay warm? What are some other ways animals stay warm in the winter? Learn all about that and more with the highly interactive hibernation program ideal for Pre-K and Kindergarten.

What kinds of animals lay eggs, and are they all the same? How do eggs change between species to be best suited for their habitat? Do you want to try rolling different shaped eggs to discover what happens? Join the JMM for our egg program created for ages Pre-K through 1st grade. 



Note that the museum is currently closed and our special programs are also suspended. We encourage social distancing to  discourage the spread of the Covid-19 virus. We look forward to seeing you back at the museum soon.

The Joseph Moore Museum is open 1-5pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We are closed on Tuesday and Thursday.

Regular Admission to the JMM is free. Planetarium shows are given upon request, just ask the museum host.



Phone: 765-983-1303

General Email: josephmooremuseum@earlham.edu

Collection Inquiries: jmm-collections@earlham.edu

Tour & Field Trip Inquiries: jmm-tours@earlham.edu

Mailing Address: 

Joseph Moore Museum
Drawer 143
Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, IN 47374

The Joseph Moore Museum is adjacent to Dennis Hall on the Earlham College Campus. Parking is available behind Dennis Hall and in front of the nearby Admissions Building. Click here for a campus map and here for driving directions to campus. You can also use our GPS coordinates: N 39° 49' 26.46'', W84° 54' 42.53''.

Taking the Bus?

Rose View Transit's bus from State Hospital to Earlham College (Route 5) stops on College Avenue every hour on the half hour. Bus fare is $1.75 for adults, $1.50 for students, senior citizens (60+) and disabled passengers, and children under five ride free. Follow the signs on Earlham campus to the museum.

For more information on bus routes and schedules,visit Rose View Transit's City Page.

We are open most holidays, with the exception of New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, the Saturday of Earlham's commencement (usually the 2nd Saturday in May), Memorial Day, July 4th, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Check our calendar of events for special programs and events. At times, the rhythm of the academic calendar will impact our schedule.

For information call 765-983-1303


About the JMM

From a quirky collection in the 1870s to a thriving educational museum today, the rich history of the Joseph Moore Museum involves fires, rescuing giant beavers, a mad elephant, and much Moore.

The museum is run primarily by Earlham College students who, guided by faculty and staff, conduct research, design and lead programs and exhibitions, care for our live animals, and market our programs. The museum also serves as a "learning lab" for students in the college's Museum Studies Program.

For information call 765-983-1303

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The Joseph Moore Museum inspires learners of all ages to connect with and appreciate nature including the ancient world and its peoples, using a scientific lens.

Joseph _Moore _1_0

Joseph Moore was a teacher at the Friends Boarding School in Richmond, Indiana (later to become Earlham College) who began to collect natural history objects to supplement his teaching. At first, he housed his collection in a cabinet in Earlham Hall and later moved it to a small room. The collection was constantly being enlarged and when Lindley Hall was built in 1887, the lower floor of one wing was designated for the museum. In 1889, the fossil Giant Beaver and Ta'an, the mummy, were acquired. Also during this time, the museum received the skeleton of "Tippo Sahib", a local circus elephant that had gone mad and had to be shot. Its skeleton was mounted next to that of the mastodon. Attempts to catalog items were made, but like other museums of this time period, the total collection was on display as a jumble of objects. In 1905, after the death of Joseph Moore, Allan D. Hole followed him as curator. During Hole's tenure, the Accession Books were started and specimens were arranged more systematically. 

Lindley _Fire _Article

Shortly after midnight on October 23, 1924, a night watchman noticed that Lindley Hall was on fire. Students helped remove specimens including the mummy after realizing the building was doomed. The giant beaver was carried out by Gordon Bowles '25. The mastodon was saved from falling debris by a steel beam, and some of the mounted bird specimens survived because they were under a balcony. Amazingly, only about a quarter of the collection was destroyed, although among the losses was the skeleton of Tippo Sahib.  

Moore _Museum _8

When Dennis Hall was completed in 1952, the museum moved into one wing which included storage for specimens not displayed - reflecting a change in philosophy. And current research was used in exhibits to illustrate an idea to the visitor rather than present a confusing jumble of materials. Students began to take a more active role, and from 1952-1955 the staff, which was mostly composed of students, remounted the Randolph Mastodon in the new wing. 

Moore _Museum _4

Today, in addition to tour work, students curate collections and design new exhibits.

Heather Lerner
Director of the Joseph Moore Museum; Associate Professor of Biology

Ann-Eliza Lewis
Joseph Moore Museum Collections Manager


The JMM appreciates the generous support of our donors. To make a onetime or recurring gift to the JMM, please use the link below. It will bring you to Earlham College's donation site with the designation to the JMM already completed. This assures that your donation will be directed to the proper account.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.