Collections

Red Barn exterior with cupola and trees
Museum and Archival Research Services are located in the Red Barn at Bear Valley.

NPS

Museum and Archives Reference Services are unavailable until further notice. We regret that no staff is available to assist with access to archival collections, objects or specimens at the present time.

The Point Reyes National Seashore Museum stewards collections of natural history specimens, archeology, historic objects, and archives. They are preserved in a climate-controlled collection storage and research facility at the park headquarters in Bear Valley. The collections are accessible to the public for research, exhibits, and educational use by appointment only. Learn how to access the collections.

 
A museum cabinet with the contents of a couple drawers visible.

Cultural Collections

Cultural Collections contain over 13,330 objects, artifacts, and art representing thousands of years of human activity on the peninsula.

A photo of gray whale baleen.

Natural History Collections

Natural History collections currently number 9,280 biology, paleontology, and geology specimens collected within park boundaries.

A photo of many pages of historic records and documents.

Archives

Point Reyes National Seashore Archives holds 754,690 documents on the history of the peninsula and records of the National Park Service.

Books open on a table in a research library.

Research Library

The Research Library contains over 600 books, research files, and media relevant to the cultural and natural resources of the park.

 

Overview

  • The museum's archives contain over 754,690 records, photographs, documents, maps, plans, drawings, and administrative documents.
  • The museum's cultural and natural history collections currently consist of 22,610 artifacts, objects, and specimens. Records and documents associated with the museum's cultural and natural resources collections are in the park's archives.
  • Non-federal museum and university collection repositories often house NPS collections resulting from approved and permitted research project collecting. Completed research permit project reports, and information on how to obtain a research permit are available at the Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) portal website.
  • In order to expand the research potential of the collections, the museum actively collects within our scope of collections.
  • The Point Reyes National Seashore Museum provides online access to collections at NPS Museum Catalog. We currently have over 1,000 records with images online. Digitization of collections is an ongoing effort. Digitized collections available on the NPS Museum Catalog are always growing, so check back often.
  • Non-federal repositories holding NPS collections often provide online database access to objects, specimens, associated records, articles, and reports that you won't find in the NPS Museum Catalog.

Cultural Collections

Natural History Collections

  • Natural History collections represent type specimens collected within the park boundary.
  • Biology includes Botany (plants), Mammology (mammals), Ornithology (birds), Entomology (insects), and Icthyology (fish).
  • Geology (rocks and minerals) and Paleontology (fossils).

Archives

  • Manuscripts, photographs, maps, and oral histories from the Gold Rush era to present.
  • Federal repository for Point Reyes National Seashore's permanent records (1962–present) documenting resource management and administration of the park.

Research Library

  • Non-circulating books, audio visual media, and subject reference files of print materials.
    • These focus on the themes described above, particularly rare and unpublished materials.
  • Papers, studies, theses, dissertations, and journal articles produced through contemporary scientific studies and research at the park on natural and cultural topics.

Last updated: August 27, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station , CA 94956

Phone:

415-464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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