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To Preserve & Study Our Natural WondersThe McWane Science Center Collection is made up of nearly a half-million specimens & artifacts related to the natural history of Alabama.
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Collections and Research at McWane Science Center

The history of the McWane Collection reaches back to the 1970 opening of the Red Mountain Museum, formerly located on the south side of Birmingham. Employees of this City-owned museum spent nearly two decades leading expeditions across the state, collecting tens of thousands of fossils and geological samples. Today, McWane Science Center serves as the official repository for the extensive Red Mountain Museum collections.

Through continued collecting efforts, the McWane Collection currently stands as the second largest natural history collection in the state. Our collection hosts thousands of natural wonders, including Native American artifacts, rocks and minerals, preserved biological specimens, and hundreds of thousands of fossils. Learn more about the collection and research opportunities here.

Research at McWane
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Alabama Biodiversity Database

The Alabama Biodiversity Database is home to McWane Science Center’s Paleontological and Biological Collections. Check back often, as new collections are frequently added. Recent additions include Pleistocene (Ice Age) mammals and fossil shark teeth from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.

Scientific Research

The Collections Department at McWane Science Center is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and study of Alabama’s rich resources in the fields of paleontology, geology, archaeology, and zoology. The McWane Collection is open to scientific researchers and students currently advised by researchers.

Significant aspects of the McWane Collection include:

  • Hundreds of cataloged Late Cretaceous mosasaurs, dinosaurs, turtles, birds, and marine and flying reptiles
  • Thousands of cataloged Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic chondrichthyans and bony fishes
  • The world’s largest collection of Pennsylvanian vertebrate and invertebrate ichnofossils and plants from Alabama’s famed Union Chapel Mine
  • The state’s largest collection of Late Pleistocene mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and freshwater fishes
  • Collections of Paleogene and Neogene mammals
  • A collection of over 5,000 freshwater mussels and snails collected circa 1910
  • A collection of over 400 bird skins collected circa 1910
  • Large collections of southeastern U.S. Archaeological artifacts.

Get in Touch

The Collections Department at McWane Science Center is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and study of Alabama’s rich resources in the fields of paleontology, geology, archaeology, and zoology. The McWane Collection is open to scientific researchers and students currently advised by researchers.

Jun Ebersole
Director of Collections
McWane Science Center
200 19th Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Jebersole@mcwane.org

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