Museum Collections

Museum Collections

Artifacts and fossils removed from the public lands continue to play an important role in BLM's cultural heritage and fossil resource programs.

  • Exhibits in museums, universities, historical societies and visitors' centers offer the public the best way to see outstanding specimens and to learn about the range of cultural and fossil resources in the BLM's charge.
  • Collections and associated records are subjects of scientific research to answer many questions about our past.
  • Collections are also important to the people whose cultures they represent.
Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, almost as soon as Lewis and Clark opened the West, individuals and institutions have conducted scientific research on the Western public lands. The pace of investigations has skyrocketed in the past 30 years, and shows no sign of slowing down. Excavation has resulted in the collection of millions of scientifically important archaeological, paleontological and historical objects. Most of these objects, plus the maps, photographs, and other records associated with them, are housed and maintained in repositories, where they are the ongoing subjects of scientific study and public interpretation.

The BLM itself operates three such repositories, the Anasazi Heritage Center, the Billings Curation Center, and the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. The bulk of collections from the public lands are located in more than 155 public and private facilities, which house, preserve, document, research, interpret, and exhibit the material on behalf of all Americans.

For more information, contact the National Coordinator, Emily Palus