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McWane Science Center Collection

McWane Collection

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.

History of the McWane Collection

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 intensive and continuous collecting efforts, McWane Science Center currently houses the largest collection of Alabama fossils in the world.

Natural History Exhibits at McWane Science Center

Click here for a virtual tour

McWane Science Center offers a number of natural history attractions including:

Alabama Dinosaurs – Come see the dinosaurs that once roamed our state including raptors, ornithomimids, nodosaurs, and the fierce Appalachiosaurus!

Sea Monsters – Explore Alabama’s Cretaceous oceans and see giant sea creatures such as Protostega, Xiphactinus, and mosasaurs!

NatureScope – Explore Alabama’s biological diversity through a number of interactive exhibits and specimens from McWane’s biological collection.

Explore! Museum Collection Center – Touch and explore a number of fossils, skulls, and artifacts in this hands-on discovery room.

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.

The McWane Collection in the News

7/23/2020 News and Observer: A shark that roamed the primeval sea named in honor of Charlotte man
7/23/2020 The Herald: A shark that roamed the primeval sea named in honor of Charlotte man
7/23/2020 Turco News: 65 Milyon Yillik Yeni Kopek Baligi Turu Kesfedildi
7/23/2020 COla Daily: State Museum curator, team of scientists discover two new fossil shark species
7/23/2020 Myrtle Beach Online: A shark that roamed the primeval sea named in honor of Charlotte man
7/23/2020 Herald Sun: A shark that roamed the primeval sea named in honor of Charlotte man
7/23/2020 Charlotte Observer: A shark that roamed the primeval sea named in honor of Charlotte man
7/23/2020 The Island Packet: A shark that roamed the primeval sea named in honor of Charlotte man
7/23/2020: Count on 2 News: SC museum announces discovery of two new shark species from Paleogene Period
7/23/2020 Bham Now: 65 Million year old ancient fossil shark discovered in Alabama by McWane Science Center
7/23/2020 Mysterious Universe: Two New Species Of Prehistoric Sharks Identified In Southern United States
7/22/2020 WSFA 12 News: New shark species discovered in Lowndes County
7/22/2020 WAFF 48 News: New shark species discovered in Lowndes County
7/22/2020 WTVY: New shark species discovered in Lowndes County
7/22/2020 WTVM 13 News: Two new fossil shark species found by team of scientists from Alabama and South Carolina
7/22/2020: WBRC: New shark species discovered in Lowndes County
7/22/2020 Alabama Newscenter: Birmingham’s McWane Science Center announces two new fossil shark discoveries
7/22/2020 Newsweek: 65 Million-Year-Old Shark Found in Alabama Is New Species
6/30/20 Gulf Coast News Today: Gulf State Park visitor finds a fossilized Great White Shark Tooth
6/29/20 Outerbanks Voice: Is this a 5 million-year-old tooth?
5/15/20 WKRG News 5: Man finds 2.6 to 5 million-year-old Great White Shark tooth on Dauphin Island
2/20/20 Alabama Newscenter: Scientist: Fossils Reveal Alabama Most Biodiverse State in the Country
1/7/20 MSN: Ancient sea turtle fossil found in Alabama named new genus, species