The Silver Family Geology Museum

About our Museum

The Silver Family Geology Museum was established in the 1930s by Stuart Northrop (after whom our building is named) and provides public exhibits of mineral, fossil, and rock specimens. The material on display represents a small portion of the geological collections of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. This collections include nearly 20,000 catalogued specimens that are utilized in research, teaching, and as reference materials. The museum is open to the public free of charge, and a free brochure provides a self-guided tour through the exhibits.

The Silver Family Geology Museum was so named and dedicated in 2005 to honor the many contributions of the Silver family to the Department over the years. Recent additions to the displays include a late Cretaceous Mososaur from North Africa and a real-time active display of recent earthquakes from around the world.

The Geology Museum is visited by thousands of people each year, including public school classes. Teachers should contact the department office to schedule class visits.

Location and Hours

  • Location: Northrop Hall, Room #124 (First Floor). Click here for help in finding Northrop Hall.
  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM -- 4:30 PM. Closed for lunch hour between Noon and 1:00 PM. Closed Saturdays, Sundays and all UNM Holidays. If there is any question about whether the museum is open when you plan to visit, please call the number below during the hours listed above.
  • Telephone: (505) 277-4204 (Note: School Groups please call ahead to schedule museum visits.)
  • Department Website:
  • Email Inquiries:

About our Exhibits

Current exhibits include introductory displays on the nature of minerals and major groups of fossils, numerous outstanding mineral specimens representing the major mineral groups, gem minerals, Triassic and Paleocene-Eocene vertebrates, Miocene-Pleistocene elephants in New Mexico, Pennsylvanian and Permian marine fossils from around the state, orbicular rocks from around the world, and geological materials used in everyday life.

Two exhibits focus on world-renowned geologic features in New Mexico -- the Jemez caldera and the Harding pegmatite mine, and another includes a large dinosaur bone available for close inspection. A separate room contains minerals that fluoresce which the lights are turned out. Cabinets of new acquisitions (e.g., a pair of dinosaur eggs) are also on display.