Learn more about the latest news and discoveries from the Science Division

The Science Division grows and cares for a world-class natural history collection composed of 4.3 million artifacts and specimens, conducts scientific research with robust and diverse community participation, and conveys accurate, compelling stories that connect the past, present, and future. Our core scientific competencies are anthropology, earth sciences, health sciences, space sciences, and zoology. The Museum collections contain scientifically and culturally significant objects in archaeology, ethnology, geology, paleontology, health sciences, zoology and archives. While generally focused on the Rocky Mountain West, the collections also contain objects that bring the world to Denver and provide a broader intellectual and scientific context for the regional collections.

Latest Blog Posts

Giant Gar from Cretaceous-Palaeogene

by Julio Poletti

It is scorching hot in the middle of July 2016, temperatures surpassing the 3-digit mark. Location: Southwestern North Dakota, aka middle of nowhere. Sweat is dripping from every pore of Denver Museum of Nature & Science Scientist Tyler Lyson and Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Kirk Johnson. They were the only two brave souls in this part of the Hell Creek badlands roasting under the summer sun, hiking along the outcrop in search of amazing plant and animal fossils... and [hopefully] new discoveries.

Click here to learn more

Miller Moths and Their Annual, Strenuous Migration

By Julio Peoletti

Every year, the miller moths’ migration takes place between mid-May to mid-June and could extend to early July. As they travel, they provide food for birds, bats, predatory insects, and even cats and dogs. When they feed on nectar, they also pollinate flowers on the way. Their journey is also a useful one as miller moths serve as an essential source of food and fat for larger animals, like bears who need every bit of fat available to sustain months of hibernation.

Click here to learn more

Science on the Spot

Pop up opportunities to learn about the science being done behind the scenes

August 11th, 2022

This month's Science on the Spot focused on our three Preparation Labs and featured this summer's Department of Earth Sciences interns.

Chief Preparator Natalie Toth and Interns Laura Kleim, Dylan Dewitt, and Kayla Grant presented newly prepared dinosaurs from the Cretaceous and their work in the Paleontology Prep Lab.

Chief Preparator Andrea Carrillo and volunteers Shane Fenstermaker and Cate Corry presented vertebrate preparation techniques for mammals, birds and reptiles and their work the Vertebrate Zoology Prep Lab.

Preparator Lindsay Dougan and Interns Cameron Pittman, Eldon Panigot, Franklin Duffy, and Hannah Holtz presented Three-dimensional printed fossils and their work in the Digital Lab.

Earth Sciences Collections Manager Kristen MacKenzie and Interns Luke Friedman, Isiah Newbins and Lara Yagodzinski presented fossils and dinosaurs from the Museum and their work in the Vertebrate Paleontology Collection.

Teen Science Scholar Success Stories

From Teen Science Scholar to paleontology graduate school

Hear 2017 Teen Science Scholar Isiah Newbins' story on how the TSS program impacted his scientific career.

Watch the video

Stucky Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund established

Richard Keith Stucky passed away on May 4, 2022, following a courageous battle with lung cancer.  It would be hard to overstate Richard Stucky’s impact on your Museum. During more than 25 years on staff, Stucky served as preparator, Earth sciences department head, curator of vertebrate paleontology, chief curator, vice president of research & collections, vice president of programs and curator of paleoecology & evolution.

Stucky and his wife, Barbara, have long supported the Museum financially and donated treasures to its collections. In 2016 they joined the Edwin Carter Legacy Society. Their trust provides for the establishment of a postdoctoral fellowship fund at the Museum that is modeled after a fund at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History of Pittsburgh. In 1982, Stucky was a Rea Postdoctoral Fellow at that museum.

In 2021, another generous Museum donor, Dolores Schlessman, was inspired to make a major gift in Stucky’s honor. After consulting with Richard and Barbara, Dolores’ gift established this fund immediately. Over time, distributions from the Stucky Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund will accumulate to support a Stucky Postdoctoral Fellow in the Science Division. The Museum is deeply grateful to Dolores Schlessman and to Richard and Barbara Stucky for this amazing circle of generous support.

Donate Now

Recent Catalyst Articles

Summer 2022

Discover Science: What's a Post-doc? The face of the next generation of scientists

By Holger Petermann and Gussie Maccracken

Museum Insider:

Meet Rick Wicker: Museum Photographer

On the Cover: Ornithoptera priamus

Photograph by Rick Wicker

Read it Now

Spring 2022

Museum Treasures: Stewarding a New World-Class Fossil Collection

By Alexis Williams, Catherine Neie, Nicole Neu-Yagle and Dr. James Hagadorn

Museum Insider: Record Gift Supports Culturally Inclusive Conservation

By Dr. Stephen E. Nash and Jill Viehweg

Discover Science: Recovery Mission: France

By Dr. Michele Koons

On the Cover: Egyptian coffin lid fragment

Photograph by Rick Wicker

Read it Now

New Gift to the Museum

$25 million for conservation of scientific collections

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science and its supporting organization, the DMNS Foundation, have received a $25 million gift from an anonymous donor. This is the largest gift in the institution’s 121-year history.

“We are amazed by the donor’s generosity and vision,” said George Sparks, Museum President & CEO. “The support will vastly expand the Museum’s capacity for collections conservation."

"Collections are treasures held in the public trust. Preserving them and making them accessible to source communities, scientists and the public has long been an institutional priority,” said Museum Director of Anthropology and Senior Curator of Archaeology Stephen E. Nash. “This unprecedented gift will take our work to another level, with the expertise and state-of-the-art analytical equipment needed to advance the field and train the next generation of conservation professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. It will position the Museum as a leader in culturally-inclusive object conservation in the Rocky Mountain region, nationally and internationally.”

Ten percent of the funds will go directly to the museum for initial staffing, equipment and launch activities, while 90% will establish an endowed fund at the DMNS Foundation. Annual distributions from the endowment will support the Museum’s conservation work over the long term.

Read the press release
Back To Top