MMNS Ornithology Collection
The ornithology collection includes study skins, mounted specimens, fluid-preserved specimens, eggs, skeletons and bioacoustics. Currently, the collection has over 7,000 specimens. Ms. Fannye A. Cook started the ornithology collection in the 1930's as part of the WPA Program, although some of Ms. Cook's earliest specimens were collected in the mid-1920s, about ten years before the WPA work began. These collections made by Ms. Cook and others would later form the basis for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
The ornithology collection consists of 6,000 study skins and mounted specimens representing over 350 species, 800 egg sets representing over 200 species, 150 skeletal specimens and various other fluid-preserved and bioacoustics collections. Almost 80% of the skins were collected during the WPA Program. Little collecting has occurred since, especially during the first 40 years after the WPA Program ended. Over half of the egg collection was collected during the WPA Program, however it has grown substantially in recent decades through donations by Mr. William H. Turcotte and the family of Mr. Thomas C. Whitfield. Over 90% of the specimens in the collection are from Mississippi, although there are specimens from other states and countries. Specimens are housed in museum cabinets and stored in a climate-controlled collection range, except fluid-preserved specimens, which are shelved in a separate range used for storing wet specimens.
Specimens in the ornithology collection are available for scientific and educational purposes, and may be borrowed by other scientific institutions for study. Laboratory space is also available for examination of specimens at the Museum.
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