"Cornell's collections are a driving force in research, teaching, and learning across disciplines."
The Richard J. Schwartz Director of the Johnson Museum of Art
From the world's largest archive of animal sounds to one of North America's largest collections of dried fungi, Cornell's natural history collections are as outstanding as they are diverse. The insect collection is worldwide in scope, and preserved plants, numbering some 845,000, include specimens of algae, bryophytes, and vascular plants. Other superlative collections include North America's most respected archive of the American labor movement, a rare collection of mechanical models from the 19th century, and a costume collection that dates back to the 18th century.
Cornell's Art Museum
The Johnson Museum, itself a small masterpiece designed by architect I. M. Pei, is one of the finest university art museums in the country. Its permanent collection of more than 35,000 works is a walk-in encyclopedia of art, with exceptional collections of Asian art and European and American prints, drawings, and photographs from the 15th century to today.
A Living Archive
Cornell Plantations, a museum of living plants, occupies 200 park-like acres: an arboretum with a magnificent collection of trees and 14 botanical gardens that display herbs, heritage vegetables, poisonous plants, rhododendrons, wildflowers, winter plants, and more. Plantations also cares for more than 4,000 acres of natural areas that include bogs, fens, gorges, glens, meadows, trails, and woodlands.
Other Collections of Note
- Bailey Hortorium Herbarium
- One of the largest university-affiliated collections of preserved plant material in North America. It includes Cornell's Wiegand Herbarium (CU), which was merged with BH in 1977. The combined herbaria now number approximately 845,000 specimens of algae, bryophytes, and vascular plants.
- The Cornell Collection of Blaschka Invertebrate Models
- Cornell University is one of a handful of academic institutions in the United States with a collection of glass invertebrates created by renowned 19th century glass artists Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.
- The Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design Costume Collection
- Includes more than 9,000 items of apparel from the 18th century to the present
- The Kheel Center
- The most venerable labor archive in North America, contains historical documents tracing the history of the labor movement in the United States
- Cornell University Insect Collection
- With over 200,000 species represented, the CUIC provides a worldwide view of insect diversity essential for comparative studies in phylogenetics and taxonomy
- Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates
- One million fish, 45,000 birds, 3,200 eggs, and 15,000 each of
mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, many dead for hundreds of years
and some now extinct
- Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium (CUP)
- North America's fourth largest collection of fungi. Over 400,000 specimens and 60,000 historic photographs support research in the biodiversity and taxonomy of fungi and also the various organisms that cause diseases of plants.
- The Cornell Brain Collection (not online)
- Seventy human brains preserved in glass jars, including 14 brains of
prominent people and 12 brains of less known or infamous people.
Believed to be the first collection of its kind in the United States. Read the
story at the Cornell Chronicle Online.
- The Human Sexuality Collection
- One of the nation's most extensive collections on United States lesbian and gay history
- Weill Cornell Microneurosurgery Skull Base
- This is a 3-D video collection of approaches to skull base surgery. The Skull Base Laboratory, led by Antonio Bernardo, MD, is a state-of-the-art facility which integrates exquisite cadaveric dissections, 3-D visualizations, virtual reality, and computerized simulation for the training of surgical procedures and visuospatial skills.
- Weill Cornell Medical Center Archives Collection
- Medical Center Archives of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell was established in 1972 to preserve, protect, and make available for public research the records of its parent institutions, as well as the records of other institutions that merged to form the current medical center. Thirteen collections of historical photographs are now available to view online.
The Evolution of Life and the Earth
PRI's world-class fossil collection, which includes one of the most comprehensive Paleozoic trilobite, brachiopod, coral, and crinoid collections in the country, is the bedrock on which the Museum of the Earth was built to introduce visitors of all ages to the Earth's 4.5 billion-year history. Both have growing academic affiliations with Cornell, although they operate independently.