Museum Info

Boonshoft Museum of

2600 DeWeese Parkway
Dayton, OH 45414
(937) 275-7431
Fax (937) 275-5811
TTY (937) 278-6076

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Monday – Saturday
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Closed: New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Chistmas Eve, Christmas Day, Easter

General Admission

Children (3-17) $11.50
Seniors (60+) $12.50
Adults $14.50
Children under 3 and members are FREE.
Help us create a fun, safe environment for all our visitors! Children under 16 should always be accompanied by an adult in the Museum.
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CFC #36476


Biology specimens

This Department is a repository for thousands of specimens from Ohio and around the world. Items are collected and preserved for scientific research and graduate studies.

Overview of the Biology Department

The Biology Collections department is a repository for thousands of specimens from Ohio and around the world. The purpose of this department is to preserve specimens for scientific research, graduate studies, for other science-related research, and so that future generations can see what kinds of species we had in Ohio at one time. The goal of this department is to protect these specimens from heat, humidity, and insect predation so that they will be here for years to come.

Within our collection, we have 2 Ivory-billed woodpeckers, a Carolina parakeet egg (now extinct), and 2 passenger pigeons (now extinct), among other fascinating specimens. The Ivory-billed woodpecker was thought to be extinct for over 60 years, until recently. On February 11, 2004, Gene Sparling was kayaking in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge and saw an Ivory-billed woodpecker fly over his kayak and land in a nearby tree. He contacted some birding friends of his and before he knew it, there were scientists combing the Big Woods of Arkansas for Ivory-billed woodpeckers. They have now been spotted by a few select peo ple, but they are believed to no longer be extinct. For more information on the Ivory-billed woodpecker, check out and click on the Ivory-billed woodpecker link.

Butterfly SpecimensThe Biology Collections also holds the entire John W. VanCleve collections which are plants that were collected in the late 1800’s. John W. VanCleve was the first male child to be born in Dayton and became the first naturalist of the area. The Biology Collections Department is now in the process of photographing this entire collection so that it can be digitally preserved. We hope to make this collection available on the Internet in the near future so that people from around the country can enjoy it

We also have an impressive collection of songbirds and other types of birds. Many of our bird specimens date back to the Victorian Era, when ladies actually used to wear dead birds on their heads! Some people also used to put dead songbirds in display cases and place the cases in their homes for people to see. Because of this practice, in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, many species of birds were starting to disappear. Because of 2 ladies that were appalled by this practice, birds were soon banned from being killed to be worn on hats or put into cases for display.

Biology SpecimensThe Biology Collections has about 200,000 insect specimens, and thousands of species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, plants, and fungi. We also have an impressive teaching collection that we use for school programs in and out of the museum.

To keep track of all of these specimens, we have every donor fill out an Accession Form stating their name, address, and when and where they found the specimen. It is very important for us to get all of the data on each specimen that is donated so that it will be useful for science. Then it will be catalogued into our Biology Collections or it will be used for teaching. The specimen, its number, and all of its data will then be entered into our database on the computer.

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Under Construction

  • Kids' Playce is currently under construction. Look for brand new additions to this exhibit starting in the fall through early 2016!

What is your favorite exhibit at the Museum?

Science On a Sphere® - 23.3%
Water Properties Table - 20.3%
Cassano’s Pizza Kitchen - 21.6%
Recycling Center - 16.6%
The Courthouse - 8.5%