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Tours, Loans, and More

The MT James Entomological Collection is a internationally-recognized research collection. We have 3 million prepared specimens which researchers use for scientific purposes. As possible, we also assist those who require our expertise or who want to access material for artistic projects, student class assignments, or other pursuits. The MT James Entomological Collection can accommodate visits from groups who wish to explore the world of entomology at WSU.

Click through a slideshow of some previous student visits below!

We are glad to welcome our entomology-minded visitors.

The MT James Entomological Collection engages in public outreach and education in conjunction with our Entomology Graduate Student Association. Visitors to the Department of Entomology have the chance to see an amazing assortment of preserved insects, spiders, and other arthropods, learn from informative displays, and hold live insects. The live insect component is held in a new and improved outreach area on our 3rd floor! Our graduate student club will typically run the touch-a-bug aspect, so a visit is coordinated with the museum staff and the entomology student volunteers.

Scientific loans.
Loan requests: we will provide information about our holdings for researchers inquiring about specific taxa.

Please contact Collections Manager Dr. Joel Gardner ( for more information.

Outreach at the Museum

Showing off some of our preserved material for display.
Explaining the ins and outs of our ethanol collection.

Scientific Loans and Data

Where's that genus you wanted?

How to reach us via mail:

On campus, we are located on the 1st floor of Food Science and Human Nutrition Building.


mailing address:

MT James Museum, Entomology
Washington State University
PO Box 646328
Pullman, WA 99164-6382, USA

shipping address:

WSU, Entomology
MT James Museum, 166 FSHN
100 Dairy Road
Pullman, WA 99164-1120, USA

Specimen and collection donations.

We welcome donations from private, non-profit, and institutional collections. Your donation will join one of the largest insect collections in the Pacific Northwest and will strengthen the scientific value of the MT James Entomological Collection for the people of generations to come.

For inquiries, please email Elizabeth Murray ( If possible, provide a brief overview of size and scope in your initial email. Our collection is housed in USNM-style drawers, unit trays and cabinets. We request that a specimen donation please be accompanied by a monetary donation so that we can properly curate and house the incoming collection.

Museum personnel out and about and answering questions on your local insects and spiders! Some links:

Dr. Rick Zack stars in “Insect Collection Serves as Identification Base for Researchers”.

Dr. Elizabeth Murray shows off the museum while explaining the yearly fall appearance of those “fuzzy” aphids. These aphids are actually smokey-winged ash aphids, but lifecycle is similar to woolly apple aphid. By WSU student reporter Rylee Fitzgerald (pictured).

February 2022:  Elizabeth Murray was interviewed for the ‘Ask Dr. Universe’ column which appeared in the Spokane Spokesman Review and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Elizabeth and Dr. Universe discussed the topic of the evolution of mantids (order Mantidae) and how they are most closely related to cockroaches.  link to the Ask Dr. Universe site “What did praying mantises evolve from?”

Rich Zack talks about a really cool spider in WA: “Along came a spider … and it opened a door” !
link to the Oct 2021 Spokesman-Review article Note: article access is limited to the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper.

How do you feel about earwigs? In this article, the Spokesman-Review reports on the (invasive) earwigs in WA, with help from Rich. August 2022.

Did you know there are over 50,000 species of spiders? What do they do at night? Rich Zack was interviewed for the ‘Ask Dr. Universe’ column in September 2022. They discussed if spiders sleep. The article was also featured in the Queen’s Gazette. Here’s the link to the Ask Dr. Universe article: “Do spiders sleep?”

Wasps! Rich helps out the Spokesman-Review with information on the bald-faced hornets in this article from Sept 2022. Bald-faced hornets are big and white & black and are actually a type of yellowjacket wasp, not a true hornet.

Silas Bossert was interviewed for the ‘Ask Dr. Universe’ column in October 2022. Silas and Dr. Universe discussed the topic of the evolutionary origins of bees, and talked about the first bee fossil! This is the Ask Dr. Universe article titled “When was the first bee made?”

The annual aphid clouds in Washington. In this October 2022 article in the Spokesman-Review, Rich Zack informs us about the smokey winged ash aphids that we see floating through the air.

Note: article access is limited to the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper.

Joel Gardner was interviewed for the ‘Ask Dr. Universe’ column in March 2023. Joel and Dr. Universe discussed beetles, after being asked “How many beetles are there in the world?”.  Joel shared that 400,000 species of beetles have been described so far and there may be 10 quintillion individual beetles alive today!