Museum of Riverside

Museum of Riverside

Nature Collection

As part of its mission, the Museum collects, preserves, and interprets specimens that document the natural environment of Riverside and the region around it. Plants, animals, people, and the geological setting for their activities all contribute to the study of natural history.

Natural History Collections

Located in one of the fastest-growing and most environmentally threatened areas in the U.S., the Museum’s Natural History Collection is an important resource for research and interpretation of local environmental history, natural hazards, and conservation issues facing the area’s population, ranging from the effects of air pollution on plant communities to the plight of endangered species.

Geology and Earth Sciences

The Museum's Geological and Earth Sciences holdings consist of approximately 3,500 specimens including Southern California rocks, minerals, and fossils. The rock collections include specimens from the Crestmore Quarry contact metamorphic complex of rare minerals. One of the largest donations to the Collection was assembled by science educator J. W. Eggleston and came from Riverside City College during the early 1950s. The S. M. Purple Fossil Collection includes type specimens of giant prehistoric California sharks.

Life Sciences

Over 450 zoology specimens depict the wildlife of the Riverside region including: local species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, bird skins, eggs, and nests.  Approximately 3,000 insect specimens document regional sites of scientific significance (for example, a series of voucher insect specimens collected as part of ecological studies of the Deep Canyon facility of the University of California Natural Land and Water Reserve System), in addition to reflecting the role played by UC-Riverside in research into agricultural pest biocontrol. The Collections feature approximately 1,000 dry specimens of molluscs, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates have been contributed over the years by amateur collectors from the community.

The Clark Herbarium

The California Consortium of Herbaria has now posted over 2 million plant records online. Our Clark Herbarium is a contributor to this project, and has thus far provided over 2,000 data sets from its specimens. Learn more..

The Clark Herbarium serves as a reference library documenting plant diversity and change in Southern California.  With almost 10,000 specimens, the Clark Herbarium includes dry botanical mounts, most of which were collected from the Riverside region and surrounding counties by J. C. Roos and other botanists between 1920 and 1960. A small collection of lichens and fungi was assembled during the 1930s by Edmund C. Jaeger, and was later donated to the Museum during his tenure as Curator of Plants. All these materials now represent an important database describing the distribution of native plant species in the southwestern U.S., which is now a vastly altered environmental setting.

The state of California possesses a greater variety of plant species than just about any other comparable geographic area outside of a tropical rainforest. Of this diversity, the Riverside region is endowed with a considerable share, in large part due to the enormous variation in topography and climate that occurs over a relatively small horizontal distance. "As the crow flies", it is possible, in fewer than 10 miles, to travel from below-sea-level saltbush desert to sub-alpine forest communities. As the human population of Southern California continues to boom, some of the Riverside region’s most distinctive plant communities, such as the coastal sage scrub and riparian woodlands, are among the most endangered in the state.

The Museum officially established a Botanical Section in 1954. During the early years, renowned naturalist Edmund C. Jaeger became the museum's Curator of Plants. Facilities for housing a plant collection grew slowly until the late 1970s, when Dr. John C. Roos of Loma Linda offered his personal collection, which included material collected by his father, Alfred Roos, Jaeger, and many others to the Museum. With specimens collected from the 1930s to the 1970s, the Roos collection primarily consists of species from Riverside and surrounding counties in Southern California, plus portions of central California, western Nevada, and northwest Mexico. These Roos specimens became the core Clark Herbarium holdings. The Clark Herbarium is named after Dr. Charles F. and Wilhelmina Husser Clark whose 1949 bequest provided for the establishment of the Botanical Section

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Main Museum
3580 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501

Phone: (951) 826-5273

Closed for Innovation
Heritage House
8193 Magnolia Ave.
Riverside, CA 92504

Open Sept (1st weekend after labor day) to June.

Monday - Thursday Closed
Friday - Sunday Open at 12:00 pm -
Last Tour at 3:15 pm
Closed Major Holidays
Harada House
Not Open to the Public
Riverside Community Science
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