Understanding, preserving and interpreting biological diversity and cultural heritage to ensure their survival for future generations.
Inspiring people to value the biological richness and cultural heritage of our diverse world and make a positive difference in its future.
The role of the Florida Museum of Natural History as the official natural history museum for the State of Florida is defined by Florida Statute §1004.56 which states:
The functions of the Florida Museum of Natural History, located at the University of Florida, are to make scientific investigations toward the sustained development of natural resources and a greater appreciation of human cultural heritage, including, but not limited to, biological surveys, ecological studies, environmental impact assessments, in-depth archaeological research, and ethnological analyses, and to collect and maintain a depository of biological, archaeological, and ethnographic specimens and materials in sufficient numbers and quantities to provide within the state and region a base for research on the variety, evolution, and conservation of wild species; the composition, distribution, importance, and functioning of natural ecosystems; and the distribution of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites and an understanding of the aboriginal and early European cultures that occupied them. State institutions, departments, and agencies may deposit type collections from archaeological sites in the museum, and it shall be the duty of each state institution, department, and agency to cooperate by depositing in the museum voucher and type biological specimens collected as part of the normal research and monitoring duties of its staff and to transfer to the museum those biological specimens and collections in its possession but not actively being curated or used in the research or teaching of that institution, department, or agency. The Florida Museum of Natural History is empowered to accept, preserve, maintain, or dispose of these specimens and materials in a manner which makes each collection and its accompanying data available for research and use by the staff of the museum and by cooperating institutions, departments, agencies, and qualified independent researchers. The biological, archaeological, and ethnographic collections shall belong to the state with the title vested in the Florida Museum of Natural History, except as provided in s. 267.12(3). In collecting or otherwise acquiring these collections, the museum shall comply with pertinent state wildlife, archaeological, and agricultural laws and rules. However, all collecting, quarantine, and accreditation permits issued by other institutions, departments, and agencies shall be granted routinely for said museum research study or collecting effort on state lands or within state jurisdiction which does not pose a significant threat to the survival of endangered wild species, habitats, or ecosystems. In addition, the museum shall develop exhibitions and conduct programs which illustrate, interpret, and explain the natural history of the state and region and shall maintain a library of publications pertaining to the work as herein provided. The exhibitions, collections, and library of the museum shall be open, free to the public, under suitable rules to be promulgated by the director of the museum and approved by the University of Florida.
Other statutes, FS §1004.57, 1004.575, 1004.576, establish the Program of Vertebrate Paleontology within the Florida Museum of Natural History to protect and preserve vertebrate fossils on state lands, and provide for the museum to regulate the collection of those fossils by issuing permits for collecting on state lands.