Celestite sample on display at Rausch Mineral Gallery

Campus treasures mapped

June 28, 2019

Enter Fernald Hall and go up the staircase on the left. At the top of the stairs, you’ll see large glass cases filled with live and preserved bugs. There are giant cave cockroaches, beetles, tarantulas, and crickets. You’ve found the “Insects in the Hallway,” formally known as the University of Massachusetts Entomology Collection. 


Now, thanks to a new map and website, more students and visitors can learn about and see the entomology collection and many other campus wonders—from rare books to art to arrowheads. Interested in a documentary about the 1980s punk and glam rock music scene in the former East Germany? Go to the DEFA Film Library. Want to see a dinosaur egg fossil? Check out the Geological Teaching Collection. Julie Brigham-Grette, professor of geosciences and co-chair of the Campus Collections Committee, says, “We see all of UMass Amherst as a museum, with amazing collections spread out throughout the campus. This website will help us celebrate all the treasures we have here. We want them to see the light of day—both virtually and in-person.” 

A view of the University of Massachusetts Entomology Collection

The map highlights a dozen campus collections. Some, such as the University Museum of Contemporary Art and Durfee Conservatory, are well known, while others, such as the Anthropological Primate Collection, featuring more than 300 skeletons of primates available for study, have been known mostly to specialists. The “Insects in the Hallway” are part of the commonwealth’s “State Cabinet” natural history collection brought to campus in 1868. 

Mammoth milk tooth from the Lawrence Osborne Fossil Collection

Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham, senior campus planner and co-chair of the collections committee, created the campus collections website and points out, “We have museum-level collections here that are the work of love for many curators. It’s our responsibility to preserve these collections for future generations.” 

Succulents in Durfee Conservatory

Available both to academic researchers and to the curious, the campus collections are a vital and fascinating part of our commonwealth’s public history and the university’s teaching and outreach missions. Now, UMass has put these collections on the map, and this treasure trove is ready to be discovered. 

Campus Planning developed the collections map as part of the campus master plan, and in collaboration with the Campus Collections Committee under the direction of Simon Neame, dean of UMass Amherst Libraries. 

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