The word “collection” conjures images of bric-a-brac, postage stamps and antique coins, perhaps foraged from garage sales or thrift stores and stored in curios and cabinets.
When William Duellman joined the KU staff in 1959, the herpetology collection had 50,000 specimens; today there are 320,000 frogs, lizards, and snakes — thousands of these collected by Duellman himself. As he traveled and collected in the southern United States and Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru, he encountered many new species.
Lewis Lindsay Dyche, Dyche Hall's namesake, was a Kansas naturalist who would become renowned as an explorer, lecturer, taxidermist and showman. He was responsible as much for the iconic Panorama exhibit as he was for some of the earliest conservation laws in Kansas.
The KU Natural History Museum is the home of Comanche, the horse ridden by Captain Myles Keogh at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. After Comanche's death, Lewis Lindsay Dyche taxidermied the horse for the 7th Calvary, but Comanche stayed with the museum's collections. In 2005, museum staff completely restored the mount and created a new display on the fourth floor. Comanche is one of the most visited exhibits in the museum.
Erin Saupe, a graduate student at the KU Biodiversity Institute, studies fossil spiders. She and her collaborators took a spider that died millions of years ago, mapped it using an X-ray, converted the data into a 3D map, and printed a plastic three-dimensional model of the original full-bodied spider: a reproduction that will show her exactly what it looked like, from the legs to the fangs.