About the Collections

The Museum of Northern Arizona cares for more than 800,000 artifacts, objects, and specimens in its permanent collections of anthropology, biology, geology, and fine arts, with a focus on the Colorado Plateau, including the Grand Canyon. MNA houses extensive federal and tribal research collections and significant library and archival collections.

Ensuring that the objects in MNA’s collection are properly stored and cared for is the primary responsibility of the MNA collections staff. The most fragile collections are housed in the Easton Collection Center (ECC).



The Archives holds more than 300 manuscripts, 284,000 images (including; photographs, digital images, negatives), films, audio recordings, and institutional records. Besides documents and images with great historical significance, the Archives documents 84 years of research and collaboration between staff, researchers, and tribes in northern Arizona.

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The Anthropology Collection contains significant Hopi and Navajo holdings with smaller holdings from Zuni and the Apache Bands and representative holdings from other Pueblo groups (Acoma, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, etc.), and Havasupai and Colorado Plateau Tribes. The archaeological artifacts come from more than 30,000 sites and nearly 100 years of systematic field research.

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More than 44,000 catalogued plant specimens are housed in the McDougall Herbarium within the Easton Collection Center. This includes examples of most of the flora of northern Arizona and plants of the Grand Canyon region and three ethnobotanical collections containing indigenous food plants as well as medicinal and ceremonial plants.

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Geology & Paleontology

The MNA paleontology collection contains specimens from most of the fossil bearing geologic units in the region. The collection is the basis for scores of scientific technical papers on the paleontology and geology of the area. The MNA geology collection contains about 4,000 mineral, rock, and meteorite samples.

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Fine Art

The MNA Fine Arts Collection includes works by important Native American and Anglo-American artists who lived and worked on the Colorado Plateau. Many of the Native American artists were associated with the Santa Fe Indian School (now the Institute of American Indian Arts) and its influential studio art program.

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MNA’s zoological collections includes the most complete collection of invertebrate specimens in the region and representatives of nearly all vertebrate taxa on the southern Colorado Plateau. These collections serve as a foundation for regional research into modern and changing Colorado Plateau biodiversity.

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Federal collections

MNA also cares for collections that are owned by other agencies, such as National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and tribal governments. MNA will consider accepting new collections for curation if they contribute to the research value of our existing collections and have regional significance. To establish a curation agreement with MNA, please email collections@musnaz.org.

Policies, forms, and resources

Collections Management Policy

The Collections Management Policy guides MNA to be a leader in the management, security, and access to our collections.

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McDougall Herbarium Strategic Plan

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Research request form

To access the collections for research assistance, download and fill out this form. Provide as much detail as you can about the information you are searching for and the intent of the research. Include your name, phone number, email address, mailing address, in case we have questions. Email the completed form to ehughes@musnaz.org at least at least 30-days notice prior to your proposed visit. This allows time for us to ensure that the collections and/or documents requested are available and not subject to restrictions.

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Permission to use form

If you wish to use an image, download and fill out the form below. Be sure to provide the image identification number or the citation for the publication showing the image you wish to use. Then Submit the form via email to mlawton@musnaz.org. Permission requests generally require anywhere from 30 to 60 days to fulfill depending on the amount of identifying information provided by the researcher.

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MNA staff are prohibited from authenticating, appraising or otherwise evaluating any object for donation, insurance, sale or other purposes. Contact one of these associations to locate an appraiser within your area:

Appraisers Association of America 212-889-5404 x10

American Society of Appraisers 800-272-8258

International Society of Appraisers 866-481-1689

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Caring for your treasures

Many people wonder how best to care for family heirlooms and works of art.  The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) has a useful website with advice on how to care for different kinds of objects, as well as a database of conservators.

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