The collections of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History began primarily as a tool for teaching, with specimens donated by the Department of Biology and the Department of Wildlife Management at the A&M College of Texas. The Museum’s collections expanded significantly in 1970, with items transferred from the shuttered Museum of the A&M College of Texas. Today, collections at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History include a diverse array of more than 20,000 natural history specimens and other artifacts representing the Brazos Valley and beyond.
Many of the fossils at the Brazos Valley Museum were once part of the Museum of the A&M College of Texas. These fossils primarily represent Ice Age mammals; the specimens were collected throughout Texas by Dr. Mark Francis beginning in the late 1800s. After the A&M Museum closed, its collections were distributed throughout Texas in 1970, with uncatalogued fossils and artifacts joining the collections of the Junior Museum of Natural History in Bryan, today known as the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. The Brazos Valley Museum collections also include several dozen paleobotany specimens from the O.M. Ball Collection of fossil plants and more than one thousand marine invertebrate fossils, many from the Brazos River Basin.
The Museum’s collections include whole mounts, study skins, and osteological material from a diverse array of modern animals. Especially notable are the Museum’s ornithology holdings, representing the study of birds, which include the Oological Collection of Jens K. Jenson. The Museum’s modern animal collections also include an extensive assemblage of insects and a colorful and diverse collection of mollusk shells.
The Museum’s collections include a wide range of rocks, gems, and minerals, most of which are gifts from private donors. Notable among these are the Mary Julia Hubert Gem and Mineral Collection and the Robert Bossler Mineral Collection. Some of the rock and mineral specimens in the Museum’s holdings are used in education programs, and a colorful sampling of specimens is on display in the Museum’s gallery and Discovery Room.
The Museum maintains an eclectic collection of items representing human history and culture, with an emphasis on the Brazos Valley. The centerpiece of the assemblage is the Albert Dalton Doerge and Albert Henry Doerge Collection of Native American Artifacts, a group of lithic, shell, bone, and pottery objects collected in the Bryan and College Station area between 1902 and 1952; this collection is designated as a Texas State Archaeological Landmark. Other highlights of the Museum’s cultural holdings include the surveyor’s compass owned by Hiram Hanover, surveyor of Boonville, and the Knott Memorial Wagon Collection, a group of 22 scale models of horse-drawn vehicles.