The University of Vermont’s Perkins Museum of Geology exists through the courtesy of the UVM Department of Geology.

The Museum is dedicated to presenting geologic concepts and processes to students, scholars, and the interested public in a manner that both informs and entertains.

Perkins Museum of Geology: The Journey of a Rock Collection

Prior to the collection that we now know as the Perkins Museum of Geology, the early Museum specimens traveled from the official Vermont State collection (of natural objects) in Montpelier to multiple locations on UVM campus, and ultimately to its present home in the Delehanty Building on the University of Vermont’s Trinity Campus. 

The earliest collection of geologic specimens was housed in The Old Mill from 1826 until 1862 when the collection was then moved to Torrey Hall. The collection remained in Torrey Hall until 1931. Torrey Hall was UVM’s first library, then museum and classrooms. The collection then moved in 1931 to the then newly completed Robert Hull Fleming Museum where it filled the Geology Gallery until 1964.

UVM Perkins Museum of Geology was established, as such, i.e. as a museum, in 1962 in the Perkins Building (the former Engineering Building) beginning with items from the Geology Gallery, and from the Vermont State Collection and is believed to be the oldest state geologic collection in the country.

 

The Vermont State Geological Survey was created because “Rumored and occasional finds of gold, copper, iron, and other valuable mineral resources in Vermont’s interior provided the impetus to assess the mineral wealth of the state, thus, in 1844 the office of state geologist was created by order of the governor. . . “(Howe, Jeffrey L., The Perkins Museum And the History of the State Collection.)

 

The Museum was housed in the Perkins Geology Building in 1964 until 2004. The Museum received donations and items acquired from research projects, and other sources to expand upon existing exhibits. In 2002, over 5,000 specimens were digitally categorized, and the resulting digital archives are online on Perkins Museum of Geology website. While still housed in Perkins Geology Building, the Museum was renovated during the years 1991-93.

In 2004, The University of Vermont purchased Trinity College Campus; the Department of Geology and the Museum moved from UVM Perkins Geology Building to Delehanty Building.

About George H. Perkins

The Museum is named for George Henry Perkins, (1844-1933). He served for 35 years as the 8th Vermont State geologist until his death (1898-1933). As State Geologist, he reported on the mineral industry in Vermont, primarily what came to be deemed the 3 state rocks: marble, slate and granite.

In 1908, Perkins, as State Geologist, Perkins added to Zadock Thomson's 1850's obervations on what we now call the "Charlote Whale" (Vermont State Marine Fossil). Perkins published an article entitled: Fossi l Cetacea of the Pleistocene of the United States and Canada (with special reference to Delphinapterus vermontanus, Thompson). In it, he provided detailed measurements of the bones and teeth, and speculated on the major questions of the whales age, lineage and evolutionary history.

At UVM, in 1886, G.H. Perkins taught one of the first undergraduate courses in anthropology in the United States . He was also subsequent Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. George Henry Perkins is NOT the person infamous for the promotion of eugenics; that was his son, Henry Farnham Perkins.

What's the difference between a collection and a museum?

A collection is an assembly of items such as works of art, pieces of writing, or natural objects, systematically ordered. A museum is an institution that conserves collections through exhibits for public viewing. Perkins is a museum.

Did you know?

Perkins Museum of Geology displays over 350 specimens.

New exhibits and specimens are intermittently added to continually entertain and educate visitors.

Sample Identification

Information on how to have a sample identified.