About the UMPC

Our mission is to enhance education by serving as a center for research, teaching, and public outreach, in order to preserve the fossil heritage of Montana and other regions. The UMPC was established by the Montana Board of Regents of in 2005. In 2008 the UMPC received a generous grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to renovate the basement storage facility, install a Space-Saver compactor system, add 45 new metal cases that will accommodate UM's growing fossil collection, and to create this unique database. The UMPC collection contains an estimated 100,000 specimens with over 1,500 representing type (published) specimens. This collection attracts visiting researchers, as well as, provides specimens via loan for scientific investigations regionally and abroad.

UMPC Brochure

We would like to extend this opportunity to join the “Friends of the University of Montana Paleontology Center”. The Friends was organized to act as a support and advocacy group for the UMPC. Your membership dues will fund renovation of the Paleo Prep Lab, creation of more public exhibits, and expand the tour and education program. Dues are for a period of two years and all contributions to the Friends are tax deductible to the full extent provided by law.

Friends of the UMPC Membership Form

Services and Facilities

The University of Montana Paleontology Center (UMPC) is headed by a Director, Professor George Stanley, and a full-time Collections Manager, Kallie Moore. It is staffed by part-time graduate students, undergraduates, and volunteers. An online fossil database supports internal/external research and educational programs. School or organizational tours of the facility are also available. Please contact the Collections Manager for questions or to schedule your tour. The UMPC also makes short-term loans to qualified researchers. Institutional exchanges also can be arranged. To request a loan or arrange for a visit, please contact Prof. Stanley. For information regarding existing loans or loan applications, please contact the Collections Manager. UMPC routinely hosts meetings and visits from local, national, and international scientists who come to study our fossil collections. Space is provided at the UMPC for visiting researchers wishing to study the fossil collections. If you are a researcher from another University or organization, please contact the Director for further information.

The UMPC is located in the Charles H. Clapp building (CHCB) at the University of Montana's main campus in Missoula. The Clapp building is located on the south part of the campus near the U.S. Forest Service facility on Beckwith Avenue. Parking permits are required and are available from the Parking Office on Campus Drive (near the stadium). The facilities of the UMPC consist of 1,500 sq. feet of collection space in the basement (CHCB 006), a 800 sq. feet preparation lab on the third floor (CHCB 323), an adjacent acid lab, a computer room for utilizing the 3D modeling scanner, and public exhibit areas.

Exhibits: Displays featuring some of the UMPC holdings are located on the first and third floors of the Charles H. Clapp Building and are available to the public Monday to Friday during regular university hours of operations.

Volunteer to Help: You can be part of the UMPC! UM students can register for an independent study (GEO 492 or 392) that is designed for students to learn exhibit design and curation techniques. Non-student volunteers are also welcome. Please contactProfessor George Stanley if you are interested.

Researchers:If you are a researcher of another University or organization desiring to study material housed in the UMPC, please contact the Curator and Director of the University of Montana Paleontology Center, George Stanley for further information. All requests for a new, renewal, or return of loans should be addressed to the UMPC Collections Manager c/o Kallie Moore.

For information regarding the UMPC's collections policies, please consult the UM Paleontology Center Collections Policy Statement

Online Database

An online "Museum without walls" helps to support local and international research and education. It can also interface with other national and international databases. This data base is an ever-growing inventory of our entire collections. Currently, over 25,000 specimens have been entered into this data base. These include the type specimens that can be accessed though this online database (see the "Collections" tab).


The UMPC’s paleontological collections represent the ancient heritage of Montana and western North America. They serve the University community and support research endeavors and provide support for geological instruction in the Department of Geosciences. This research collection, which started in 1898, consists of vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant specimens. These specimens are organized by geologic age, location, and taxon. There are over 100,000 specimens in the collection and over 1,500 of these are type (published) specimens that are housed in 192 metal cases. Many of these are electronically automated, offering students and professional researchers remote access to a diverse suite of fossil organisms. The Department of Geosciences also maintains a geological collection which includes minerals, economic samples, and a petrographic collection. Publications related to our collections are available.

Research Collections



Earl Douglass

Ten years after receiving UM's first graduate degree, a master's degree in 1899, paleontologist Earl Douglass discovered a huge cache of dinosaur bones along the Green River north of Jensen, Utah, soon after named the Douglass Quarry. Work at the quarry was financed by Andrew Carnegie, who was looking for a new and impressive exhibit for his museum. Through a fifteen-year excavation (1909-1924) the site yielded more than 350 tons of fossils and attached rock, which were shipped first by horse-drawn wagon and then by railroad boxcars to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburg. In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the site the Dinosaur National Monument. Many of Douglass' techniques are still in use today, including the tools he used and his grid-mapping systems.


Clapp Building

UMPC - Paleontology Center

The UMPC is located in the Charles H. Clapp building on the south end of campus, off E. Beckwith Ave. behind the US Forest Service Research Station.