UNI Museum Staff
UNIM Research Center
Monday - Friday (8-5) Please schedule an appointment by contacting the office
Exhibit Hall Hours
|Fall and Spring Semester
Mon-Thu 7am - midnight
Fri 7am - 7pm
Sat 10 am - 5 pm
Sun noon - midnight
Mon-Thu 7am - 8pm
Fri 7am - 5pm
Sat noon - 5pm
Sun noon - 8pm
Note special hours during exams, holidays and interims
UNI Museum Mission Statement
The mission of The University of Northern Iowa Museum is to serve as an educational resource with the purpose of supporting the independent pursuit of knowledge of UNI students, researchers, and the general public with diverse collections, ongoing research, innovative exhibits, and alignment with academic programming.
This will be accomplished by:
- Preserving and expanding the collection of irreplaceable objects, both local and global, that will support the academic programs and enhance the educational experience for UNI students.
- Curating new exhibits, hosting traveling exhibits, and collaborating with campus faculty, native cultures, and others to better interpret the collections.
- Teaching undergraduate and graduate students appropriate ways to work with and study museum collections through seminars, classroom lectures and museum internships.
- Providing research access to the collections and establishing searchable online digital databases to better serve UNI students and museum patrons.
- Fulfilling the duties listed above according to established professional practices in order to achieve the commitment of the university/museum to the public trust and to the museum’s donors.
A Brief History of the UNI Museum
The University of Northern Iowa Museum had its origins in the 1890s when a “Cabinet of Natural History” was set up in a science laboratory in Gilchrist Hall to provide instructional material for classroom use. The initial focus of the collections was in Geology and Zoology. Sizeable collections of Native American artifacts were acquired in the 1920s, initiating the World Cultures/Anthropology collection. Throughout its history, the Museum has provided educational resources and programming for the University and the surrounding community. Today, the collection numbers over 100,000 items in four broad areas: Biology, Geology, History (including institutional history), and World Cultures/Anthropology. The affiliated Rural School Collections (http://www.uni.edu/museum/ruralschool/) include public records that document the history of one-room schools in Iowa; the project web site also provides access to an image gallery, interviews with former students and teachers, various specialized collections related to the history of education, and research tools. The Museum administers the Marshall Center School, an authentic one-room school that was moved to campus from near Laurens, Iowa, in 1987.
The Museum moved from a classroom and the corridors in Gilchrist Hall to the Administration Building in 1896; in 1911 it moved again to the top floor of what is now known as Seerley Hall. When the Library moved to a new building in 1964 and Seerley was remodeled for the Business Education department, the exhibits were dismantled for storage. The Museum was moved to temporary quarters in the Physical Plant Shops Building in August 1966. A Museum Advisory Committee was formed in 1969, and on its recommendation in 1971 oversight of the Museum was transferred from the Biology Department to the Field Services Division. On July 1, 1975, the Museum became a free-standing entity in the Division of University Relations and Development. The Museum moved to its long-time location on Hudson Road in 1986. In June 2012 the Museum was closed to the public and its administration was transferred to Rod Library, where space has been refurbished for exhibits, instruction, storage of artifacts, and staff offices. Topical satellite exhibits are located across campus.