The McWane Science Center Collection is made up of nearly a half-million specimens and artifacts related to the natural history of Alabama. This includes Native American artifacts, rocks and minerals, preserved biological specimens, and hundreds of thousands of fossils! From dinosaurs to giant ground sloths to projectile points, McWane Science Center is dedicated to the preservation and study of Alabama’s natural wonders.
The history of the McWane Collection begins with the 1970 opening of the Red Mountain Museum, formerly located on the south side of Birmingham. Employees of this City-owned museum spent nearly two decades leading expeditions across the state, collecting tens of thousands of fossils and geological samples. In 1994, the City of Birmingham merged the Red Mountain Museum and nearby children’s museum, Discovery Place, with the private entity, Discovery 2000, Inc. Opened in 1998, this new downtown museum was later named McWane Science Center and now serves as the official repository for the Red Mountain Museum collections. Through continued collecting efforts, the McWane Collection currently stands as the second largest natural history collection in the state.
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Come explore the following Natural History attractions at McWane:
Explore Lab – Watch scientists working on specimens and artifacts from the McWane Collection. Daily activities in the Explore Lab include the cleaning, repair, identification, and labeling of specimens and objects.
Collections Storage Room – Peek inside McWane’s collection repository. Kept in a secured climate controlled room, see first-hand the giant rolling storage system that serves as the home for the McWane Collection.