The paleontology collections are housed in a modern, climate-controlled, secure facility. While the majority of fossils in this collection are from the Gray Fossil Site (early Pliocene), we also curate paleontological materials from elsewhere in Tennessee, the southern Appalachians, and surrounding states. Significant collections include Quaternary mammals from Saltville, Virginia and from regional cave and karst deposits. The collections room is designed to accommodate researchers and students, and includes communal workstations and tools for research.


  • Over 30,000 fossils cataloged, including vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants.
  • A significant investment in digital infrastructure, incorporating digital collections management, 3D models, and digital document archives.
  • Over 500 hours per year logged by internal and external researchers using these collections.
  • Over 300 hours per year logged by students and volunteers helping to house and manage collections.

It’s the human connection that I really enjoy. This is a team-oriented effort, and getting students invested in collection is my goal.” ~ April Nye, Museum Registrar

Click through to learn more about our collection policies, including loan request forms, image use, and photography policies.