Last updated: 10/25/2013
Richmond, Indiana
801 National Road West
Richmond, IN 47374
phone: 765-983-1303


Open Year Round
1 PM - 5 PM
Tours and planetarium shows arranged by appointment.
September 15 - December 15; January 15 - May 1
Extended Open Hours: Academic Year
Sunday - Monday, Wednesday, Friday
1 PM - 5 PM


Admission is free, although donations are welcome.


Heather Lerner, Museum Director
phone: 765-983-1402

Joseph Moore Museum is the regional natural history museum for eastern Indiana. It provides opportunities for Earlham students to have hands-on experience working in a museum in the fields of zoology, botany, anthropology, geology, education, and applied arts. Students curate the collection, provide tours and planetarium shows for visitors, maintain the live animal collections, and design and build exhibits. Guidance is provided by natural science faculty members.

The museum began as the teaching collection of Joseph Moore in the 1850s. In 1887 the collection was placed in the new Lindley Hall and became open to the public, displaying specimens gathered around the world by various Earlham faculty. In 1924, Lindley Hall, where the museum was housed at the time, was consumed by fire and the collection was partially destroyed. But through the efforts of faculty and students, several important pieces, such as Ta'an, the Egyptian mummy, and the mastodon, were saved. In 1952, the museum moved into our current location in Dennis Hall and under the direction of Jim Cope, the collections were updated and reorganized.

All of our tours meet Indiana State science and social studies standards for the appropriate grade levels.


Joseph Moore was a teacher at the Friends Boarding School in Richmond, Indiana (later to become Earlham College) who began to collect natural history objects to supplement his teaching. At first, he housed his collection in a cabinet in Earlham Hall and later moved it to a small room. The collection was constantly being enlarged and when Lindley Hall was built in 1887, the lower floor of one wing was designated for the museum. In 1889, the fossil Giant Beaver and Ta'an, the mummy, were acquired. Also during this time, the museum received the skeleton of "Tippo Sahib", a local circus elephant that had gone mad and had to be shot. Its skeleton was mounted next to that of the mastodon.

Artifact Collections

The Joseph Moore Museum is a vital contributor to the education of both Earlham College students as well as the public of Wayne County, Indiana and beyond. The museum and its collections provide the opportunity for experiential learning through hands-on activities and research while maintaining a valuable asset for scientists around the world.

The JMM also provides many teaching opportunities for professors and their classes at Earlham College. Courses from all divisions on campus have used our exhibits and collections, such as Ecological Biology, Biodiversity, History of the Ancient Mediterranean, Natural History Museum Curation, Drawing I, Vertebrate Zoology and French 102. A minimum of 300 college students come to the museum or use our collections in courses each year

Educational Programs

Fairies Move In at the Museum

Recently, we discovered a different sort of nest among the birds in the Marshes of Indiana exhibit at the Joseph Moore Museum. A tiny door on the side of the exhibit leads into a well-furnished, one-room house fashioned from a portable snake cage. The apparently tiny residents of this mysterious abode have impressed us with their creative use of objects found around the museum, such as sea shells for beds and table settings and a piece of turtle shell for a door knocker. After doing some research, we came across pictures and stories of similar doors and abodes in business throughout Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ann Arborite Jonathan B. Wright calls the residents of the tiny dwellings “Urban Fairies”. Curious individuals and families have developed a map of the fairy doors in Ann Arbor and marveled as the number of residences—and their fan base—have grown.

We'll be on the lookout for more fairy houses here in Richmond, and you should too! If you find any, send us a picture ( and we'll post it. If you have questions about how the Fairies chose the Joseph Moore Museum, we'll be happy to answer your questions at the same email address.

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