Museums, Galleries, and Special Collections

The Alexander Ruthven Museums Building houses four University museums — the Exhibit Museum, which is open to the public; and three research museums: the Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Paleontology, and the Museum of Zoology. Erected in 1928, the Ruthven Building replaced the original museums building built in 1881 (on State Street between Angell Hall and the Museum of Art) — the first public museum built by a North American university.

The research museums house millions of artifacts and specimens which help faculty and students document and research the principles of natural history.

The Exhibit Museum is open every day (except major holidays) without charge (modest fees apply for groups of ten or more). The Exhibit Museum displays restorations and dioramas of prehistoric life, Michigan wildlife, anthropology and Native American cultures, astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and zoology. Its Hall of Evolution displays partial or complete skeletons of nine dinosaurs — the most dinosaurs on public display in the state of Michigan. The Exhibit Museum has a planetarium offering public shows Saturdays and Sundays, and a museum store.

The Museum of Art is located at the corner of South State and South University Streets. The Museum believes that works of art embody the highest achievements of the world’s diverse civilizations and have a unique power to inspire, teach, and move us as human beings. The Museum offers a changing series of lectures, symposia, and performances in conjunction with both special exhibitions and the permanent collection. Other services include the Friends of the Museum of Art, Children’s Programs, and the Museum Gift Shop.