Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum | Department of Biological Sciences

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October 12, 2020

Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum

Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum

The Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum is partnering with the Botanical Research Institute (BRIT), Fort Worth, to digitize the plant collections in the UNT Benjamin B. Harris Herbarium. The Herbarium is a member of the Texas Oklahoma Regional Consortium of Herbaria (TORCH) Thematic Collections Network (TCN). This project is funded by an NSF grant administered by the University of Texas.

Figure 1. Tessa Boucher UNT graduate student digitizing plants from the B.B. Harris Herbarium.
The Herbarium, part of the Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum, contains approximately 16,000 plant specimens. Many of the herbarium specimens, which date back to the 1870s, were collected by Benjamin B. Harris (UNT faculty 1916 - 1953). Dr. Harris was a former Director (= chairperson) of the Department of Biology at North Texas and Dean of the College. Other specimens were collected by Archibald W. Roach, Albert Ruth, and various faculty and students of the University of North Texas. There are several type specimens in the collection. Collection specimens are primarily from Texas, with a detailed record of Denton County specimens from the 1800s. The collection also includes specimens from other regions of the U.S. Mexico, Italy, Belgium, Australia, Argentina, Honduras, Germany, Wales and England.
The Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum is located in EESAT 391. Its holdings include invertebrate and vertebrate collections. While the insect collections (~ 50,000 specimens) are the museum's main focus, the vertebrate collections have some noteworthy specimens, including specimens of bats and rodents collected by the preeminent naturalist and conservationist H. P. Attwater in the late 1800s.