Idaho Museum of Natural History
Director: Dr. Leif Tapanila
The mission of the Idaho Museum of Natural History is to acquire, preserve, study, interpret, and display objects relating to the natural history of Idaho and the Northern Intermountain West for research and education. The Museum seeks to enhance in the citizens of Idaho and visitors an understanding of Idaho’s natural and cultural heritage. Specific areas of interest encompass the anthropology, botany, geology, paleontology, and zoology of Idaho and the Northern Intermountain West. Audiences served include citizens of Idaho, visitors, and the national and international community of students and scholars. Information is disseminated through exhibitions, public and professional presentations, publications, formal and informal education, telecommunications, and other interpretive programs.
Curators in Anthropology, Earth Science and Life Science lead national and international research. Our active research profile supports acquisition and use of collections for all areas of natural history research and education. ISU faculty and students have access to Museum collections for instruction, training, and graduate theses and dissertations.
Our Public Programs Division develops and implements programs and exhibitions on a wide range of science topics, emphasizing current Museum research and environmental and ecological themes. These programs are both university level and for K-12 education.
The Museum offers undergraduate and graduate students educational credits under the Museum subject code and through courses in Anthropology, Biology, Education, Geosciences, History, and other affiliate Idaho State University departments. See Museum course descriptions in the All Courses section of the catalog.
For more information, please visit the Idaho Museum of Natural History's website at: imnh.isu.edu.
How to Read Course Descriptions
The bolded first line begins with a capitalized abbreviation that designates the subject area followed by the course number and title. The number of credits earned by taking the courses is also displayed.
The course description is a brief summary of the purpose of the course and the topics covered. Any requisite courses are listed and could include the following:
- Courses showing the abbreviation “COREQ” require simultaneous registration with each course named as a corequisite.
- The abbreviation “PRE-or-COREQ” means that each course named may have been taken prior to or may be taken concurrently with the course for which it is required.
- Courses showing the abbreviation “PREREQ” require the courses named as prerequisites to have been taken previously.
If the course can be applied towards a General Education Objective, the applicable Objective is listed.
To assist with your academic planning, courses in the Undergraduate Catalog are designated according to the semester they are usually offered. Unanticipated faculty vacancies and academic program changes may affect future course scheduling. Therefore, students should always contact the academic department to verify future course offerings, especially when specific courses are needed for graduation.
The following letters which appear after the course descriptions indicate the anticipated course scheduling:
F = Fall Semester, every year
S = Spring Semester, every year
Se = Sequential; a series of courses is presented until all have been taught.
Su = Summer Semester, every year
EF, ES, ESu = Even-numbered years, Fall, Spring, or Summer Semester
OF, OS, OSu = Odd-numbered years, Fall, Spring, or Summer Semester
D = Students should contact the Department to ask when this course will be offered.
R1 = Course is rotated every year, either Fall or Spring
R2 = Course is rotated every two years, either Fall or Spring
R3 = Course is rotated every three years, either Fall or Spring
MUSE 4411 Introduction to Museum Studies: 2 semester hours.
History, philosophy, purposes, organization and administration of museums. Practical work incollections management and museum interpretation. D
MUSE 4412 Advanced Topics in Museum Studies: 3 semester hours.
Study and analysis of selected, varying advanced topics in museum studies. Emerging issues in museum professional practice. Students will explore the chosen topics through current research, theory, and best practice in museums. Potential topics include: conservation and preservation, documentation, funding sources, legal and ethical issues, security, standards, education, or technology. May be repeated with different content for a total of 6 credits. PREREQ: MUSE 4411. F, S, Su
MUSE 4450 Independent Study in Museum Methods: 1-3 semester hours.
Individual projects based on student's background and interests. Could include, but not limited to, advanced work in collections management, exhibit design andconstruction, museum education, or administration. May be repeated up to 6 credits. PREREQ: MUSE 4411 or permission of instructor. D
MUSE 4451 Internship in Museum Studies: 3-6 semester hours.
Supervised internship in museum studies where students work with faculty and museum staff on a specific set of museum activities. The internship potential encompasses, but is not limited to: practica in anthropology/archaeology, paleontology, geology, biology, and education. The internship would include investigation of best practice in museum documentation, collections care, archival care, database development, conservation of objects, educational practice in the museum setting, exhibition practice in museum setting, and the development of specific faculty and student-selected practicum experiences. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits. F, S, Su
MUSE 4460 Museum Field Research: 3-6 semester hours.
Supervised fieldwork in museum field studies in a given museum research field setting where students and faculty work on a specific set of field problems. Research potential encompasses, but is not limited to: field research in anthropology, at specific archaeological, paleontological, geological, or biological sites, or in an interdisciplinary field setting. May also include investigation of best practice in museum documentation, collections care, archival care, database development, conservation of objects, education in the museum setting, exhibition practice in museum setting, and research into specific faculty and student-selected research topics. May be repeated with different content for a total of 12 credits. PREREQ: Permission of instructor. F, S, Su
MUSE 4499 Experimental Course: 1-6 semester hours.
This course is not described in the catalog. The course title and number of credits are announced in the class schedule by the scheduling department. Experimental courses may be offered no more than three times.
Tapanila, Leif,* Director and Earth Sciences Division Head, Idaho Museum of Natural History; Professor, Geosciences. Honors B.Sc. 1999, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada; M.S. 2000, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada; Ph.D. 2005, University of Utah. (2005)
Dr. Leif Tapanila, Earth Science Division
Speer, Charles A., Assistant Professor, Anthropology. B.A. 2003, M.A. 2006, Ph.D. 2013, University of Texas San Antonio. (2015)
Williams, Charles F. (Rick),* Research Curator, Ray J. Davis Herbarium and Life Science Division Head, Idaho Museum of Natural History; Associate Professor, Biological Sciences. B.S. 1979, University of Oklahoma; M.S. 1985, University of Miami; Ph.D. 1991, University of Wisconsin, Madison. (1999)
Akersten, William A., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences and Geosciences; Curator, Vertebrate Paleontology, Idaho Museum of Natural History. 1985-2009
Holte, Karl E., Professor, Botany; Curator, Museum. 1965-1997
Trost, Charles H., Professor, Biological Sciences; Curator, Museum. 1968-2000
Faith Tan, Gallery Manager and Administrative Assistant to the Director
Lindy Warden, Financial Technician
Curt Schmitz, Registrar
Amber Tews, Anthropology Collections Manager
Amy Commendador-Dudgeon, Earl R. Swanson Archaeological Repository Manager
Janet Bala, Life Sciences & Ray J. Davis Herbarium Collections Manager
Dr. Mary Thompson, Earth Science Senior Collections Manager
Idaho Virtualization Laboratory
Dr. Leif Tapanila, Director
Robert Schlader, Manager
Nicholas Clement, Assistant Manager
Jesse Pruitt, Technical Specialist