Sternberg Museum of Natural History
The Sternberg Museum of Natural History is a world-class natural history museum and teaching institution located on the campus of Fort Hays State University. Its collection covers the entire range of the natural world, from paleontology, to botany, and to zoology. No other university of similar size has a comparable natural history collection. Highlights include one of the best Pterandon collections, and one of the largest collections of fossil grass seeds, and terrestrial vertebrate fossils. The museum is housed in the former Metroplex complex, affording it plenty of space for exhibits and research purposes. It moved to this location in 1991. The museum offers numerous outreach programs, science camps, and afterschool programs.
Backstory and Context
The museum got its start in the early 20th century. Many settlers in the area had gathered private specimen collections and some donated these to the university's predecessor, Kansas Normal College, which was founded in 1902. In 1915, the college hired George F. Stenberg to develop the museum, which at first was intended solely to be an academic research facility. His leadership greatly expanded the size and scope of the collection. Over time, the museum drew the attention of the public and more and more people came to visit. After Stenberg's death in 1969, the museum began to focus more on tourism and education, recognizing that the collection should be shared with the public. The need for more space prompted the move to the Metroplex in 1991.