By Lauren Huneycutt

Jars of lizards and rare egg collections, along with an interesting variety of plant and animal species, are now on display in the Museum of Natural History on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

Because of Elizabeth Leger and Chris Feldman, room 300 of the Sarah H. Fleischmann Agriculture building is now filled with over half a million types of insects, 90,000 plant species and over 10,000 mammals and birds.

“We got this idea to combine the collections from the college of science and the college of agriculture into one place and use it for education and research,” said Leger, associate professor for natural resources and environmental science. “Some of this stuff has been locked in a closet for 75 years. We just wanted to take it out and put it on display so people could actually see what we have.”

The museum space is broken up into two parts with a classroom in the back. The front room is intended for the public. There are multiple display cases, animals and art complete with short explanations filling the room. The back section of the space is filled with cabinets that house plant and animal samples and in-progress research.

“Hopefully this front room will turn into somewhere we can do outreach for school kids K-12 and the general public,” Leger said. “We have that great classroom where eventually we want to teach labs and do activities.”

The successful soft opening of the museum on March 5 attracted many visitors: teachers, staff, public, press, students and alumni. UNR biology graduate Erin Parsons was among the mass of people at the opening.

“I wanted to come back and see how the museum turned out,” Parsons said. “The whole idea is really cool, and it looks amazing in here. There are a lot of interesting things to see that I’m sure some people don’t even know exist.”

According to Leger, the museum is aiming to set up tours for the Washoe County School District beginning in April. The museum is currently open to the public Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Right now we’re in the ‘if you build it, they will come phase,’” Leger said. “We’re working on figuring the rest out, but we’re happy this opening has been successful.”

Lauren Huneycutt can be reached at