Natural History Collection

Natural History Collection

Natural History Collection

In 2010 the collection of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, previously maintained by the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR), was transferred to the Arizona Historical Society (Arizona Revised Statutes §41-827). The collection now makes up the majority of the Arizona Historical Society Natural History Collection.

The Natural History Collection is a permanent collection with materials pertaining to the natural history of Arizona and the mining industry in Arizona. Secondarily, items from the west are included – particularly where they compare and contrast or supplement Arizona material. Material from outside the region may be part of the collections only where they provide important contrast, aid in interpretation or identification, or where they represent material known from Arizona but which might not be currently available from Arizona. The Collection also includes mining and mineral related books, journals, magazines, and historical documents related to the history of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.

The Natural History Collection (broken down into 5 sub-collections: Gem & Mineral, Rock & Ore, Fossil, Meteorite, and Mining Artifacts) includes more than 21,500 specimens and objects.


Online Natural History Collection Database


Current Exhibitions

Future Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

Photo Galleries

Collections for your classrooms!

The Arizona Historical Society currently offers 4 types of Rocks & Minerals Classroom Kits: Rocks & Minerals Classroom Kit, Rocks & Minerals Homeschool Kit, Rocks & Minerals Custom Kit, and Arizona Rocks & Minerals Kit. For more information on what’s included in the kits, pricing, and ordering click here.


Where is the collection on display?
Items from the Natural History Collection will be on display at the AHS Museum at Papago Park beginning in 2014.

Can I schedule a tour to see the Natural History Collection?
Yes! School tours and adult group visits are available at our AHS Museum at Papago Park. To schedule, please contact Nancy York at

Can you identify or appraise a specimen for me?
Unfortunately, we do not offer identification or appraisal services.

Do you take donations?
Yes! View our Natural History Collection Donation Guide and Donor Questionnaire.

Are the collections available for scientific research?
Yes! Please complete the Collections Access Request Form.

Are there any Mining related archival collections at the Arizona Historical Society?
Yes! The AHS Library and Archives Division is home to manuscript collections, photographic collections, oral history collections, and ephemera collections. These collections are supplemented by over 30,000 books, 20,000 architectural drawings, 4,000 maps, 1,000 reels of microfilm, in addition to thousands of items or radio, television and film media.

Notable AHS Mining Archival Collections

H. Mason Coggin Mining Collection (1880’s – 1999)
FM MSS #126
This collection highlights the career and research of H. Mason Coggin, a professional engineer and land surveyor and expert in gold placer mining. This collection may be the most comprehensive contemporary mining collection available.

Orrell Mining Collection (1880 – 1999)
FM MSS #133
This collection contains records on various mining projects and research done by F. Lewis Orrell. The collection focuses on primarily tungsten, copper and calcite mining. Orrell traces the history of mining companies such as the Arizona & Michigan Mining Company and the Superior & Boston Copper Company.

View Quick Guide to Arizona Mining Archival Collections

Where can I find technical information and maps from the Department of Mines and Mineral Resources?
Technical documents, maps, and the ADMMR photo collection were transferred to the Arizona Geological Survey.
AZGS Phoenix Branch – (602)771-1601
AZGS Headquarters (Tucson) – (520)770-3500
AZGS Email –
AZGS USGIN (Geoscience Information Network) –