The Perot Museum’s collections and research facility houses over 130,000 cataloged specimens and objects across multiple subject areas. The Museum strives to apply industry-standard methods and conditions for the preservation of all specimens entrusted to its care. The strength of our collection include paleontology, ornithology, mammalogy, entomology and a library of rare books. See below for more information.
Our paleontological collections are particularly of North and North-Central Texas. The Museum is also a repository for fossils from properties managed by multiple Federal agencies. Particular strengths of the paleo collection include:
Texas Cretaceous marine invertebrates
Texas cretaceous vertebrates
Alaskan dinosaurs and other vertebrates
Texas Permian terrestrial vertebrates and plants
Ornithology, mammalogy, and entomology of Texas
Mudge Rare Books Library, with an emphasis on ornithology
Collections are available for study by qualified researchers upon appointment. Contact Collections Manager Karen Morton for inquiries or appointments.
Do you think you’ve found a fossil or other natural history object? Click below to submit information and photos to our staff to review and possibly identify.
Frequently Asked Questions about Specimens
Are the collections in the Perot Museum building in downtown Dallas?
No. The vast majority of the Museum’s collections are housed in the Museum’s state-of-the-art Research and Collections facility in West Dallas.
When were the museum’s collections started?
[Date and cool facts from Karen] Oldest collection date (what, from where, and when). First cataloged specimen. First cataloged paleo specimen.
Are most of the Museum’s collections on display?
No. What you see on public exhibit is only the tip of the iceberg. At any given time, there are around XX specimens on exhibit out of our >130,000 cataloged specimens. The Museum’s large collections are needed to preserve a record of the diversity of life in our region through time.
Can I leave a fossil at the Perot Museum to be identified and then come back for it later?
We do not allow drop-offs or store specimens for identification purposes. Instead, please submit pictures of your specimen to us via our identification form. We can often identify a specimen from pictures alone. If specimens are of particular interest or scientific value, one of our team may reach out with additional questions or comments.
If I bring in a fossil, will I find out how much money it is worth?
It is the Museum’s policy that we do not give monetary appraisals for specimens. We can, however, tell you the scientific and natural significance of the specimen.
Can anyone loan a fossil to, or borrow a fossil from, the Perot Museum?
The Museum can only facilitate specimen loans between itself and other institutions such as museums or universities, and unfortunately cannot loan to or borrow from individuals.
I am considering donating one or more fossils to the Perot Museum. What types of fossils do you accept?
We accept a wide variety of fossil organisms that have been found all over the world, and will accept a fossil donation as long as it meets all of the following conditions:
- It has been legally obtained and is owned solely by the donor.
- It can provide an insight to science and the natural world by having pertinent data included. The bare minimum data required for a fossil to be accepted is the precise place at which the fossil was found and who the previous owner(s) were (if applicable).
- It is donated without conditions or restrictions.
- Proper care of the specimen will not place a significant financial or logistical burden on the Museum.
- The curator makes the final determination if a specimen is to be accepted into the Museum’s collection.
What do I need to provide with a fossil donation?
To accept a fossil donation, we also need the following:
- Its provenance, meaning the entire ownership history of the fossil.
- All available data concerning the fossil (e.g. organism type, place it was found, rock layer from which it was excavated, etc.). Fossils that have more data are stronger candidates for acceptance into our collection, as these are the fossils that are more useful for research and education.
- If available, a copy of field notes pertaining to the fossil during excavation.
- If applicable, a copy of the permit obtained for collection of the fossil, or a copy of the receipt of purchase of the fossil.
If my donation is accepted, can I or my family ever come back in the future and retrieve it?
When a specimen is donated, it permanently becomes property of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. This way, the specimen can be cared for and preserved for decades to come so that future generations have the opportunity to learn about the natural world from the object.
Are fossil donations tax-deductible?
Yes! Each donation is deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS. If your donation is valued above $500.00, please provide the Museum with IRS Form 8283 as well as an appraisal receipt from an independent company to obtain a tax deduction.
What happens to fossils after they are donated?
Newly acquired fossils have their data recorded into the collection catalog, and then are found a permanent home within protective storage. Fossils can be used for study and research, be published in new scientific literatures, and/or be displayed in Museum exhibits. Please note that it is not guaranteed that your fossil will be displayed in an exhibit, but will nonetheless serve a vital role in scientific progress and education as a research specimen.