Research & Collections

The Milwaukee Public Museum has more than 4 million objects and specimens in the departments of Anthropology, History, Botany, Invertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology, and Geology. These collections form the basis for all of our research, exhibits, and educational programs. They are owned by Milwaukee County and are held in trust for the current and future generations.

Scroll down


Learn about our vast ethnographic collections and archaeological materials from around the world.



Discover the wonders of the botany collections, which include more than 250,000 specimens, over half of which come from Wisconsin.              


Read about the work of MPM's Geology department in studying sedimentary rocks and environments, ancient marine communities, and the extinction of dinosaurs.


Explore our historical collections, ranging in subject from modern cultures of Asia to Classical / Medieval Europe.


The Invertebrate Zoology collection contains approximately 800,000 specimens, and the Vertebrate Zoology collection contains more than 1.8 million specimens.


Our Photograph Collection serves as visual record of the history of the Milwaukee Public Museum.


Part contest, festival, educational event, and part scientific endeavor, MPM brings together scientists in a race against time to see how many species they can count in a 24-hour biological survey.

John J. Brander and Christine E. Rundblad Research Fellowship

Learn about the Research Fellowship program and how to apply.


Collection Highlights

Curatorial staff have selected some of the most important, unique, or interesting objects and collections to highlight.


Collection Support

Learn about the processes of conserving and cataloging objects in our collection so that they can be accessed, exhibited, and studied safely.