Museum collections are invaluable scientific and education tools that celebrate the past, define the present and inform the future. Embedded in our cupboards, shelves and freezers is hidden information waiting to be teased out by current and future scientists. Our collections provide opportunities and access for CU students to gain real world experience in preparation for careers essential for solving the challenges of tomorrow. 


In the spring of 2020, like many organizations around the world, the CU Museum of Natural History Boulder was forced to close its doors due to COVID-19. Each and every week, for over a year, the museum highlighted the history of a single catalogued item from our vast collection of more than 5 million objects. Each Wonder of the Week, or WoW blog posted on a Wednesday—offered something interesting and new to anticipate. To view the collection through a post-lockdown lens, explore the following posts.



painted lady butterfly specimen

Painted Lady Butterfly

June 24, 2020

The Painted Lady Butterfly is the most widespread butterfly species found on the planet, occupying all continents except Antarctica and Australia! Painted Ladies belong in the family Nymphalidae, which are characterized by having reduced forelimbs covered in sensory hairs. These sensory hairs help adult butterflies navigate their environment: e.g. choosing...