The UC Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History Collections (MNHC) was established in 1996 as part of the Environmental Studies Department. The museum is the main repository for natural science collections at UC Santa Cruz.
The MNHC has a single curator, Chris Lay, who replaced previous curator Tonya Haff in August of 2008. Chris has a Masters of Science degree from San Jose State University where he completed his thesis on the distribution of the American badger (Taxidea taxus) in the San Francisco Bay area.
The MNHC depends heavily on its lively, skillful, and dedicated team of interns and volunteers to accomplish its numerous projects and goals.
The Museum of Natural History Collections (MNHC) at the University of California, Santa Cruz is dedicated to the preservation, distribution, and expansion of knowledge of the natural history of the UCSC campus, the UC Reserves, and Santa Cruz County.
- Preservation: The MNHC will provide the service of organizing, curating, and preserving for the long term natural history collections associated with faculty research projects or community collections which represent noteworthy contributions to the natural history knowledge of Santa Cruz County.
- Distribution: The MNHC will be a center for education in field biology, biodiversity, conservation ecology, museum science, taxonomy, and related fields by teaching classes, offering undergraduate internship and research project opportunities, providing resources for class laboratory exercises, publishing educational materials, and being a resource for members of UCSC and the greater community.
- Expansion: The MNHC will conduct, coordinate, and cooperate in collections-related research projects by UCSC faculty and graduate students and the greater scientific community by organizing and cooperating in research, coordinating with relevant agencies, making the collections and associated records and databases accessible to the scientific community, and publishing research.
- Funding: The MNHC will actively seek diverse funding sources to expand its collections, educational outreach, and research projects beyond the levels supported by UCSC.