About Us

Research, Rural School, & Museum Questions

Click here to submit questions to our staff. 


UNIM Research Center

Monday - Friday (8-5) Please schedule an appointment by contacting the office

Center for Rural Schools

Monday - Friday (9-4)

Marshall Center School

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday (10-3)

Culture Lab

By Appointment

Assistant Director / Chief Curator Office Hours

Tuesday 3-5 & Friday 2-5

Exhibit Hall Hours

Fall and Spring Semester
Mon-Thu 7am - midnight
Fri 7am - 7pm
Sat 10 am - 5 pm
Sun noon - midnight
Summer Session
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 UNI Museum serves as an educational facility for museology and seeks to inspire critical thinking about world cultures and the natural world through original research, innovation technologies, educational programming, and exhibits. Through the use of material culture, the museum encourages multi-disciplinary learning opportunities to foster student and community engagement  resulting in a deep appreciation of diverse cultural groups.

Primary Objectives:

  • Serve as an educational/training facility
  • Provide open access to the collection for educational purposes to all people
  • Interpret the collections to aid in the public’s understanding of diverse cultures
  • Adhere to the highest level of professional practices and ethics
  • Enhance the collection through acquisition and deaccessioning to correlate to organizational collection policy
  • Work directly with diverse cultures when curating and researching collections and exhibits


Approved 27 February 2019

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.