Collections and Research

Hire the 3D Lab

What can the IVL do for you?

Using CT data and 3D scans, the IVL reconstructed the upper and lower jaw of the extinct shark genus, Helicoprion. Prior to this research, scientists could not confirm the location of the...Read More »

Step Back in Time

October is American Archive Month and this year the Society of American Archivists wants archive programs to become more visible.

What is an archive? Archives are a place where people go to find information. But rather than gathering information from books as you would in a library, people who...Read More »

Five things you didn’t know about IMNH

Herpetology collection

The Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) was founded in 1934 as the Historical Museum of the Southern Branch of the University of Idaho, as Idaho State University (ISU) was then called. The museum was established by a group of professors in an effort to collect, preserve, and displays the...Read More »

Museum’s Life Science Curator Digs Bio!

Rick Williams, Ph.D., Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) Life Science Curator and Idaho State University (ISU) biology professor, travels to Colorado to highlight the usefulness of digital natural history collections at the National Science Foundation sponsored Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio) and Organization for Biological Field Stations (OBFS) field station...Read More »

A Tale of Textiles: Exploring the Museum's Archives

The Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) to host free lecture by Dr. Paul Sivitz’s, of the Idaho State University’s (ISU) History Department, “A Tale of Textiles: Exploring the Museum’s Archives.”

Join the IMNH and Dr. Sivitz on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 6:30pm in the museum’s Discovery Room at 698...Read More »

IVL Support and Partners


The Idaho Virtualization Laboratory was created in 2003 through the efforts of Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, and funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and Department...Read More »

IMNH creates digital reconstruction for Museum of the North

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...Read More »

Museums and Students Team up to Save Monarch Butterflies in Idaho

On July 7th, 2015 our Education Specialist, Becky Hansis-O’Neill, teamed up with the Education Coordinator from the Museum of Idaho (MOI), and former Idaho Museum of Natural History

Market Lake WMA features large patches of Milkweed near water.

(IMNH) intern, Chloe Doucette to...Read More »


Equine navicular syndrome (ENS) is a chronic, incurable lameness of the horse’s foot. The pathology is poorly understood but appears to be the result of mechanical stress reducing blood flow to the navicular (ankle) bone. In domestic breeds of horse the increase of mechanical stress is caused by human intervention...Read More »

The Laboratory

The Idaho Virtualization Laboratory relies on the following cutting edge hardware and software to produce images of outstanding technical and aesthetic quality.  Hire us for your project today. 



The IQ-station, which stands for Inexpensive Interactive Immersive Interface, is a virtual reality tool by which researchers can interact...Read More »

Virtual Specimen Library

The Virtual Specimen Library at the IVL is a compilation of items selected from our Digital Archive. These items are representative of the projects we have been working on, but not all items from the Archive are listed. Those items that were selected have been reduced in detail by as...Read More »

Idaho Virtualization Laboratory

About IVL

The Idaho Virtualization Laboratory (IVL) is a research unit of Idaho Museum of Natural History on the campus of Idaho State University. Our lab houses state-of-the-art technology for imaging, virtualization, and simulation of material items, landscapes, and life. We provide education,...Read More »

Virtualization Process Overview

How does IVL staff virtualize an object?

We use a seven step-process which is relatively simple, even if the technology used to do it is not. Throughout the process, we follow the procedures outlined in our Handling Protocols.

Step One — Compile Available Data

All of...Read More »

An Extraordinary Evening with a Researcher

Take a guided gallery tour, then listen to our distinguished researchers and curators as they take you on a narrative journey of their research and fieldwork.

Join us for An Extraordinary Evening with a Researcher.

$5 admission. IMNH members, $2 admission.

Dr. Leif Tapanila

Wednesdays 6:30pm – 8:00pm

March 18

Special...Read More »

Idaho Museum of Natural History Featured in Idaho Magazine

In the March 2015 issue of Idaho Magazine the Idaho Museum of Natural History’s work is featured on the cover and in the article, “Elephant in the Reservoir: At Low Water Levels, a Stunning Find” written by Jennifer Huang from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).   

Learn more about...Read More »

Take a Tour on the Collection's Side

Hear directly from our renowned researchers and curators as they walk you through collections not on view to the public and update you on their latest research and fieldwork. Join us and take a peek at the extraordinary things that happen behind the scenes at the Museum.

 EARTH SCIENCE:...Read More »

Fossil Find at American Falls

Check out this video of our latest find.

Fossil Find at American Falls
A 72,000-year-old mammoth skull is unearthed...Read More »

Idaho Museum of Natural History's Dr. Leif Tapanila featured on

The Idaho Museum of Natural History’s Dr. Leif Tapanila made headlines recently, discussing his most recent work on the Alamo Impact Crater, which was created approximately 380 million years ago when a piece of biolide collided with the Earth.  The article, published by describes the Alamo Impact as so...Read More »

IVL Helps solve 300 year old murder mystery!

A few years ago we did a small project for some friends of ours at the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec, but haven’t been allowed to discuss it until it has been published.

Well guess what? It’s finally in press!...Read More »

Plant of the week: Orogenia linearifolia (Indian Potato or Turkey Peas)

A member of the carrot/parsley family, Orogenia is only a couple of inches tall with a root that goes much deeper. The petals are white but the anthers and the top of the ovary are dark purplish, giving the look of salt and pepper.

A Tradition of Service: Honoring Fort Hall Veterans

The Idaho Museum of Natural History is proud to announce the opening of A Tradition of Service: Honoring Fort Hall Veterans exhibit on August 9, 2013. The exhibit features information on Native American service in the military, highlighting Fort Hall military service, from the Indian Wars to the conflicts of...Read More »

Museum Magazine Article

Read the text of Dr. Maschner’s article in Museum Magazine.

Museum Magazine 3D Natural History

...Read More »

Helicoprion Exhibit Opening

The “Whorl Tooth Sharks of Idaho” exhibit opens on June 22, 2013 at the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the Pocatello campus of Idaho State University. The exhibit features the art of Ray Troll and Friends. The gallery will be open Tuesday through Friday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm,...Read More »


Areas of Responsibility for ASI Repositories

Northern Repository –
Alfrew W. Bowers
Laboratory of Anthropology, University of Idaho, Moscow
Leah Evans-Jenke, Collections Manager, Laboratory of Anthropology
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho 83843-1111
Ph. (208) 885-6123

Benewah (BW), Clearwater (CW), Latah (LT), Shoshone (SE), Bonner (BR), Idaho...Read More »

Related Links

Archival Suppliers

Managing Archeological Collections by the National Park Service

Areas of Responsibility for Repositories

Intermountain Antiquities Computer System (IMACS) Guide

Idaho Museum of Natural History

Idaho State University

Department of Anthropology, ISU

Center for Archaeology, Materials and Applied Spectroscopy (CAMAS)

Idaho State Historical Society

Alfred W....Read More »


The Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository is located in the basement of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, on the campus of Idaho State University, Pocatello.


From I-15 take Pocatello exit 69 down Clark Street. Follow the brown “Bison” signs through the campus of Idaho State University. The Museum...Read More »

Forms and Manuals

ESAR Curation Policy and Procedures

IMNH Collections Management Policy

Request for Collections Use

Outgoing Loan Agreement

Statement of Confidentiality

ASI Site Inventory Form

ASI Survey Report Form

Collections Use Policy

Use and Reproduction Agreement

...Read More »

Repository Specifications for Curation

Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository —
ASI East


  • Size — ESAR requirements for exterior packaging are boxes of no greater than the standard file box size:

15 x 12 x 10 inches. When factors such as item weight or dimensions preclude the use of the standard size boxes, alternative packaging will be...Read More »

ESAR Curation Policy and Procedures

The term “collections” refers to materials recovered by archaeological surveys, tests or excavations and any supporting documentation, including, but not limited to, maps, field notes, records, catalogs, photographic media and properly completed site forms (IMACS, ASI Site Inventory Forms). ESAR Curation Policy and Procedures are directed toward providing optimal housing, conservation,...Read More »

Archival Suppliers

Supplies and Suppliers

Conservation Materials, Ltd.
1165 Marietta Way
Sparks, Nevada 89431
(702) 311-0582

  • Soluvar varnish, acid-free papers, boxes, tags and tissue.

University Products
517 Main Street
Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040
(800) 628-1912

  • Acid-free paper products and boxes. Archival supplies.

Light Impressions
PO Box 2100
Santa Fe Springs, California 90670
(800) 828-6216

  • Archival & photography supplies

The Hollinger...Read More »


The collections curation program for the Archaeological Survey of Idaho was developed to ensure the preservation and continued access to archaeological collections from sites within the State of Idaho. The term “collection” refers to materials recovered by archaeological surveys, tests or excavations and all supporting documentation, including maps,...Read More »

Tribes and Federal Agencies

For information regarding NAGPRA (Native American Graves and Repatriation Act) and State of Idaho repatriation concerns in S.E. Idaho please contact:

Amber M. Tews
Anthropology Collection Manager
Idaho Museum of Natural History
921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8096
Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8096
(208) 282-2451
FAX 208-282-5893

For information regarding the Archaeology...Read More »

Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR)

The Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR), housed within the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH), serves as the Eastern Repository of the Archaeological Survey of Idaho.

The Archaeological Survey of Idaho, formalized under Idaho Statute 33-3091, is the lead state entity for the compilation, coordination, preservation and dissemination...Read More »


The majority of ethnographic collection was donated by private individuals who lived in the Pocatello area around the turn-of-the-century. The ethnographic collections focus on the Native American cultures of the Great Basin and Plateau areas of North America, and are particularly strong in Shoshonean materials (including an...Read More »


These collections contain both historic and prehistoric objects including lithic materials (stone flakes and tools), animal bone, soil samples, pottery, basketry, seeds and plants, and other specimen lots from excavated site contexts. These collections include a number of large private donations to the Museum and excavations conducted as...Read More »


The IMNH fish collection includes approximately 1000 specimens. Most of the specimens come from collections made by Professors and students in the Biological Sciences. Geographically, they represent the state of Idaho with concentration in Southeast Idaho.

For more information please contact:

Dr. Rick Williams
Curator of Botany, Life Sciences Division...Read More »

Herpetology (Reptiles and Amphibians)

The IMNH Herpetology collection includes nearly 2,500 cataloged specimens and represents one of the largest collections of Idaho amphibians and reptiles. It includes specimens from the former University of Idaho Collection, the Idaho and Montana Natural Heritage Programs, Craters of the Moon National Monument, and Yellowstone and Grand...Read More »


The IMNH Mammal Collection currently houses over 1,200 catalogued collections of dry skin and skull preparations. Geographically, most of the collections are from Idaho-especially Idaho desert rodents and Idaho bats. There are also a small number of collections from Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, California, Utah and Wisconsin.

For more information...Read More »


Mammalogy Herpetology | Ichthyology Ornithology

The vertebrate zoology collections of the Idaho Museum of Natural History hold regional importance as resources for information on vertebrate biodiversity. The collections originated through years of field surveys done by faculty and students of Idaho State...Read More »

The Botany Collection

The Ray J. Davis Herbarium (IDS), was established in 1931 by Davis, a professor of botany at Idaho State University from 1930-1965. Davis systematically collected specimens from throughout Idaho each summer, culminating in the publication of “Flora of Idaho” in 1952 (now out of print). During Davis’ tenure...Read More »

Comparative Osteology

The Comparative Osteology collection is a teaching and interpretive resource, containing over 2500 bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, and fish skeletal specimens. The collection is used for teaching comparative osteology, archaeology and zoology classes at IMNH and ISU. It is also a reference collection for paleontologists, archaeologists, and forensic...Read More »


Paleobotany is the scientific study of ancient plants. Paleobotanists learn what plants were like long ago from fossils found in sedimentary rocks. These fossils can be impressions or compressions of the plants left on the rock’s surface, or “petrified” objects, such as wood, which preserve the original plant...Read More »

Vertebrate Paleontology

Vertebrate Paleontology is the study of fossil fishes, sharks, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals – animals with internal skeletons including a backbone composed of a series of vertebrae.

The IMNH collection holds over 100,000 specimens of fossil vertebrates, ranging in size from the tiny teeth of shrews and rodents...Read More »


Rocks and the minerals are the building blocks of the earth. Modern technology and our society as a whole depend upon rocks and minerals as raw materials. In fact, rocks and minerals have supported the development of societies and civilizations throughout human history.

The scientific study of rocks and...Read More »

Invertebrate Paleontology

Invertebrate Paleontology is the study of ancient animals without backbones. Most groups of invertebrates and geologic ages are represented in the IMNH collection, including sponges, corals, trilobites, insects, crustaceans, clams, snails, chitons, bryozoans, brachiopods, starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, and crinoids. We also have collections of trace fossils,...Read More »

Collection Information

Why We Have Collections

The Idaho Museum of Natural History cares for over 500,000 specimens in our collections. The specimens we collect and conserve document the natural history of Idaho and the Intermountain West. The collections are divided into three divisions: Anthropology, Earth Sciences, and Life Sciences. Taken together they form...Read More »


IMNH’s archives contains: film & audio recordings, photographic media, accession & exhibit records, & copies of our in-house publications. These records are specific to IMNH as an entity, and are the responsibility of the Registrar. They include original accession documentation for all collections, legal, copyright, and other records about the...Read More »


Archaeology | Ethnographic | Federal Repository (ESAR) | Tribes and Federal Agencies

Anthropology is the study of human cultural diversity, archaeology, language, and human biology and evolution. The collections at the IMNH are focused on Idaho, but span the globe in...Read More »

Division of Life Sciences

Botany | Vertebrates


The life sciences comprise all fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms, like plants, animals, and human beings. Included in the life sciences is biology, a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including...Read More »

Earth Sciences Division

Invertebrate Paleontology | Geology | Vertebrate Paleontology | Paleobotany |Comparative Osteology

The Earth Sciences Division collects and studies the natural history of Earth’s rock, mineral, and fossil record, and protects them for future generations.

Our collections focus on the natural history of Idaho, but...Read More »


The IMNH bird collection includes approximately 1300 skins/skulls, from southeast Idaho. Mr. Richard J. Jeppson a local high school teacher and taxidermist donated is collection of approximately 387 skins and 150 taxidermy mounts.

For more information please contact:

Dr. Rick Williams
Curator of Botany, Life Sciences Division Head
willcha2@isu.eduRead More »