Wayne Thompson: Paleontologist

Ocotober 2019 Meet Wayne Thompson: paleontologist, science educator and friend of the Museum. Wayne holds a long and rich history with us — he was the first person to receive our mastodon skull when it was brought through our doors and, today, he helps advise our Collections department.   Wayne first came to the Museum in … Read more

Guide to Collecting Fossils

A large fossil in grey rock on the beach.

People find fossils in Santa Cruz County all the time! Some of these objects are important for research, while others are best left as part of the landscape. This guide will help you decide what to do when you find something during your outdoor exploration. Where can I find fossils? We live in an area … Read more

Mastodons and the Museum

June 1, 2023 A very special tooth in Santa Cruz County has captured the attention of the world. A widespread community campaign to recover a mastodon tooth that went missing after being recorded on a local beach culminated on May 30, 2023 when Jim Smith brought a special treasure to the Santa Cruz Museum of … Read more

Collections Close-Up: Taxonomy

The science of tying things together Research appointments are the highlight of any given week in the collections department. Not only do we get to learn more about the ways our collections contribute to science, we get to see the process in action. Scientists and students bring their questions alongside various tools of the trade, … Read more

Press Room

The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people with nature and science to inspire stewardship of the natural world. Founded on the collection of naturalist Laura Hecox, it is the oldest public museum in Santa Cruz dating back to the early 1900s. The Museum welcomes thousands of local … Read more

Collections Close-Up: Santa Cruz Fossils and the People Who Dig ‘Em

Frank Perry works on a cast of a fossil sea cow skeleton.

Dig into the fossil record of Santa Cruz through the eyes of locals who find themselves captivated by these windows into the past and who made it their work to share this passion with others. One of these important contributors, Wayne Thompson, will share his history with the Museum and the unique potential that fossils … Read more

Collections Close-Up: Digging Into Learning

Fossils tell the changing story of life on earth over millennia – but they can also tell stories of more recent changes. For this month’s Collections Close-Up, we look at an ancient specimen and its deep timeline, as well as a more modern, local legacy of integrating paleontological adventures with educating young minds. The above … Read more