Museum Info

Boonshoft Museum of
Discovery

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

Directions & Map

Hours

Monday – Saturday
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sunday
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.
Learn More

CFC #36476

Collections

FAQs

Q. I have an object or specimen that I would like to have identified, that I wish to donate or sell to you, or that I would like to have appraised. What should I do?

A. The Dayton Society of Natural History offers certain free services for the public, but we strongly encourage you to call or email for an appointment. We have a small curatorial staff who may not be available to meet with you if you arrive at the museum without an appointment. Curatorial staff have many duties that keep them busy and sometimes outside of the museum building. In addition, depending on what type of object or specimen you have, it may be outside of our expertise or the scope of our collections. Our Guest Services staff and Receptionists are not permitted to accept objects or to allow them to be left for donation or identification, unless collections staff have already agreed to such an arrangement.

We are happy to assist you in identifying objects or specimens that you have discovered, but we cannot legally appraise an item. If you are interested in donating an item, such donations are tax-deductible. If an item is likely to be highly valued, an appraisal from a third-party is required by law. If an item is donated, legal ownership of the object must be transferred unconditionally to the Dayton Society of Natural History. We cannot guarantee that it will be retained, exhibited, or used for research. Curators of each collection will determine the appropriate disposition of individual items after a careful review. If an item is added to the permanent collection, it is retained indefinitely. In many cases, individuals may donate a large collection of related items with the expectation that not all pieces may be equally appropriate for permanent curation.

Contact Collections staff via phone or email to make an appointment so they can review your object or specimen. You are also welcome to mail or email photographs. For artifacts made by humans (such as arrowheads), call Anthropology at 937-275-7431 x115 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; for insect, animal, or reptile identification call Biology at 937-275-7431, x 114 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; for rocks, minerals, and fossils call Geology at 937-275-7431, x 151 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; for meteorites, call Astronomy at 937-275-7431 x122 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; and for living animals, call Wild Ohio at 937-275-7431 x118 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Q. How do I know if I have a “museum quality” object to donate? What happens to objects that are donated to the museum? Why should I donate? When will my donation be placed on exhibit?

A. Specimens and objects are kept in a museum’s collection because they are useful for research, educational programming, or exhibition. Some objects might have the potential to be useful for all three purposes while others may have more limited relevance. When an object is donated, ownership of the object is transferred unconditionally and permanently to the Dayton Society of Natural History. Some donors assume that this means their object will be kept in the permanent collection and/or placed on permanent display.

When we accept an item through donation, we do not guarantee its disposition in our permanent collection unless it is of ethnographic or scientific value and falls within our collecting scope. Objects in the permanent collections are kept indefinitely and are likely to be used for research and exhibition. In contrast, we sometimes receive ethnographic items of good craftsmanship, but low ethnographic or scientific value. Such items may have been made for the tourist industry, are of questionable authenticity, or are reproductions. These types of items are usually added to our teaching collection and are likely to be used for public programming or exhibition.

If an item is not appropriate for the museum collection at all, it may be offered to another museum, sold at auction, or in a few cases discarded. The proceeds of items sold at auction are used to support the museum’s collections. In many cases, donors may donate a large collection of related items with the expectation that not all pieces may be equally appropriate for permanent curation. Some donors would prefer not to donate pieces that are not likely to be added to the permanent collection, in which case department staff will be happy to pre-screen material prior to transferring ownership.

Very few objects remain on permanent display since most types of objects will eventually be degraded or altered by remaining on extended exhibition. For example, textiles can be quickly ruined by light damage from continuous exposure to ultraviolet light. Special filters placed over museum lights help reduce this damage, but cannot completely prevent it. Almost all materials, even stone, are susceptible to damage from their environment. Proper curation of a collection usually includes the rotation of objects on and off display whenever possible. At any given time, most of our collection is not on permanent or temporary display as would be the case with any collections-based museum. Some items may not go on exhibit often if they do not easily fit into common exhibit themes.

Q. My great-grandfather donated an object to the museum many years ago. Can I have it, borrow it, or see it?

A. The Dayton Society of Natural History maintains legal ownership over the items in our collection and all donors are required to acknowledge this transfer of ownership in writing at the time of donation. It is not customary to loan museum objects or specimens to individuals, although we routinely loan items to other museums, universities, and similar organizations which have a legitimate reason for borrowing the object and can properly care for the item. If you would like to see any of our collections, you are welcome to call or email us and we will be happy to set up an appointment.

Q. Can I take tour of your collection or see “behind-the-scenes” of the museum?

A. You are welcome to schedule a tour for yourself, your family, or on behalf of groups. It is difficult to accommodate large groups (maximum ten people) at one time in any of our collections repositories, so it may be necessary to split a large group into smaller ones.

Q. I’m interested in a career in anthropology/ archaeology/ astronomy/ biology / geology / live animals/ museums and I would like to learn more about it. Can you help me?

A. You are welcome to call or email with questions to our curatorial staff. Although we receive many inquiries, we do not have a paleontologist on our staff. We do curate many fossils in our geology collection, but questions about careers in paleontology may be better answered by staff from another museum or university such as the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. Archaeologists do not study dinosaurs or fossils.

Q. I’m doing a book report for school. Can you please send me any brochures, posters, pamphlets, or information about a culture/species/object/country?

A. We do not maintain any fact sheets or other standard information to be sent by mail. In most cases, basic information can usually be found easily through a search of the internet, though users should be cautious about the source of online content. If you have a specific question, please call or email the curatorial staff and we will be happy to answer if it is within our fields of expertise.

Q. I’m a researcher interested in your collections. What should I do?

A. Researchers who would like to utilize our collections or data should call our Vice-President of Collections and Research at 937-275-7431 x130 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Explore, Dream, Learn & Support
We are a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

 

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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%