The Robert A. Hefner Museum of Natural History is dedicated to promoting an understanding of, and an appreciation for, nature and the human place in it.

Statement of Purpose

The museum exists to increase our knowledge of natural history. In particular, it emphasizes the biota of Southwest Ohio. It seeks to develop in its constituencies an understanding of, and an appreciation for, biodiversity, conservation, and ecology through the systematic collection, care, and display of specimens for exhibition, research, and education.

Environmental education is a specific focus of the museum. We believe that effective environmental education helps people:

  1. understand how nature works;
  2. appreciate the interdependence of all life, thus respecting both the living and nonliving components of the biosphere;
  3. recognize that environmental problems are caused by the interaction between natural and cultural systems;
  4. adopt an interdisciplinary approach to solving those problems; and
  5. act to prevent or solve environmental problems, should individuals choose to do so.

Accordingly, the criteria above inform all of the exhibits and programs. They are the foundation upon which the museum is designed.


The museum’s primary audience is Miami University undergraduates. Secondarily, we serve Miami University faculty, staff, and graduate students, area public and private schools, and the general public. In addition, the museum provides materials for, and participates in, extramural scholarship, research, and educational projects conducted by others.