Collection Management

The collections we manage are as diverse as the parks from which they come and the people, plants, and animals that have lived in those parks. Some general categories of material within our collections are described below.
 
Rope fragment from the Nuestra Senora del Populo, a shipwreck
Rope fragment from the Nuestra Senora del Populo, a shipwreck within Biscayne National Park

Biscayne Natural Resource Management Records (BISC 3358)

MUSEUM COLLECTIONS
Archeological collections include artifacts documenting the prehistoric and historic occupations of the areas now encompassed by the parks. Objects recovered from shipwrecks dating from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries are also part of the museum collection.

Objects made by the Seminole and Miccosukee peoples who still live inside the Everglades and Big Cypress ecosystems make up the bulk of the ethnographic collections. Examples include clothing, dolls, tools, and a canoe.

Historic collections span over 450 years of human history. A sixteenth-century suit of armor, a nineteenth-century cannon, a twentieth-century swamp buggy, and twenty-first-century souvenirs are just a few examples.

The parks also have art collections that include a wide range of artistic styles and media. A few of the artists represented are Charley Harper, Clyde Butcher, Dan Feaser, Edward Glannon, Sam Vinikoff, Eric Berg, Walter Weber, and Jeff Ripple.

The collections also include over 73,000 biological specimens, including mollusks, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and a large herbarium of plants collected in the parks. Threatened and endangered species are represented, as are other rare scientific specimens. Both native and exotic species are present. The natural science collections provide an important record of the parks’ biological diversity and the impacts of ecosystem change.
 
The 1957 “De Soto Queens” on the grandstand at the Hernando de Soto Historical Society’s annual De Soto Celebration
The 1957 “De Soto Queens” on the grandstand at the Hernando de Soto Historical Society’s annual De Soto Celebration

De Soto Natural Resource Management Records (DESO 4434)


ARCHIVAL COLLECTIONS
The museum archives contain over 3 million documents, photographs, films, maps, plans, and drawings that document the parks’ resources, history, and current research.

The primary holdings of the archives are resource management records. These important papers include data, reports, maps, photographs, management plans, and other items that document the parks’ resources and National Park Service management of the sites. The archives provide baseline and monitoring data for park managers to measure change in, and monitor impacts to, the parks’ natural and cultural resources. Ecosystem restoration efforts are also documented in the archives.

Other important holdings include historic photographs, oral histories, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, films, journals, and personal papers of people associated with the parks.
 

Last updated: May 17, 2018