Collections & Research, Joseph Moore Museum | Earlham College
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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:

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

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
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