The MVZ houses the fifth largest collection of avian sound recordings in the United States (unpublished survey). Vocalizations are routinely recorded in the field by MVZ ornithologists, and many of these are associated with catalogued voucher specimens. The majority of recordings are of passerine birds, but the sound collection also contains significant recordings of owls, hummingbirds, and other taxonomic groups. Approximately 5000 recordings for over 300 species are stored on 475 reel-to-reel or cassette tapes (45 to 90 min each). Click here to listen to a male cowbird song.
Chromosomes and Karyotypes
The MVZ houses a collection of chromosome spreads on slides, photographs, negatives, and cell suspensions for approximately 7,000 mammal specimens. In addition, tooth sections are available for ca. 100 specimens (primarily marine mammals). The karyology collection was built primarily by Dr. James Patton and his lab over the last three decades.
The MVZ is home to an outstanding collection of histological sections, many from species that are difficult if not impossible to obtain today. Especially valuable and unique is a collection of complete, serially sectioned heads of caecilians, salamanders, and frogs that have broad anatomical uses, e.g., in studies of the skeleton, tongue, or brain. Stained, paraffin sections from over 150 species of amphibian are housed in 300 or more standard slide boxes.
Hildebrand Anatomical Collection
This collection of unusual specimen preparations, including freeze-dried displays of muscles, feet, tongues, and other anatomical parts, was created by Milton Hildebrand, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Davis, and a former MVZ graduate student. Hildebrand developed or perfected most of the anatomical techniques used in his specimen preparations, and many items in the collection are cross-referenced to laboratory exercises in vertebrate functional morphology that he designed. The unique and often delicate nature of these anatomical preparations makes them especially valuable for teaching, but also prohibits their availability for loans.
Hildebrand Film Collection
A separate component of the Hildebrand collection is series of short, 16-mm films that illustrate locomotor modes for many mammalian taxa. Limited footage is devoted to other terrestrial vertebrates. These films were made in conjunction with Hildebrand's research on vertebrate locomotion and gait analysis.
The MVZ houses all correspondence from the date of its founding to the present, with the exception of letters between Annie M. Alexander and Joseph Grinnell regarding establishment of the Museum (now housed in the UCB Bancroft Library). Letters written from the field often provide natural history observations, while those relating to Museum business offer a unique perspective into development of wildlife policies and practices and professional organizations in the early decades of the 20th century. Our historical files (1908 to 1930, when the Museum moved to the Life Sciences Building) are archived separately from other correspondence in the collection and encompass ca. 54 linear feet (ca. 2000 file folders). View excel list of historical correspondence file holdings.
Artwork (paintings, sketches, etc)
The MVZ maintains a collection of ca. 300 items of color and black & white original artwork created as illustrations for books and articles by Museum authors. This collection includes original works by Allan Brooks, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Ernest Thompson Seton, Charles R. Knight, Charles Schultz and Robert Stebbins. The Museum also stores original intaglio prints dated 1798 of animals from the voyages to the New World under de la Perouse, 1785-1788, and original Audubon lithographs dated 1847. Some artwork (e.g., paintings by Robert Stebbins for plates to the Field Guide to Western Amphibians and Reptiles) is associated with voucher specimens in the Museum. This material has significant value as a collection of scientific illustrations.
Grinnell-Miller Library (journals, books, reprints, etc.)