visitor at the kunhm mobile museum looking at specimens in jars

Above image: Visitor exploring specimen displays.

NOTE: The 2021 summer Mobile Museum program is virtual and will be partnering with the following Kansas libraries for our Pop Up Paleontology program:
July 9 - Pittsburgh Public Library
July 10 - Council Grove Public Library
July 12 - Leavenworth Public Library

The KU Natural History Museum’s Mobile Museum program brings collection and hands-on activities to surrounding communities to explore biological diversity. The core of our mobile museum is 16 displays of specimens and casts with more than 90 species – and a really big pop-up tent!

Our mobile museum is used for two projects – one focused on microbial life, and one on paleontology.

Microbes on the Move is an NSF EPSCoR-funded project that connects elementary-aged youth and their families with microbes through museum specimens, creating living microbial displays and exploring microbes in their local environment.

Visitors collect cultural fungi from the surrounding environment and create a display of living art, and build mini-microbial communities (known as Winogradsky columns) using local water and soil.

Exploration cards make connections between microbial life and more familiar organisms with fun action labels to learn about the major microbe groups (bacteria, archaea, algae, protists and fungi) by modelling an action related to the featured microbe such as 'Belch Like a Bison'.

Download instructions to grow you own mini-microbial community or Winogradsky column.

Explore select mobile museum displays with action labels below to get moving and learn about microbes.

Swim Like a Salamander Algae / Prod Like a Polar Tube/ Create a Current Like You Have Cilia

Puff Up Like a Pufferfish / Dance Like a Dinoflagellate / Slide Like You Have a Pseudopod

Fuse Like a Fungus / Bond Like in a Biofilm / Mimic a Methanogenium


pop up mobile museum round green logo with many species PALEONTOLOGY
Natural History Collection in the Community
is a donor-funded project that brings the mobile museum specimen displays and hands-on paleontology-related activities to Kansas communities.

Visitors look for and identify 300 million years old fossils from Eastern Kansas in a dig pit, investigate casts of vertebrate fossils from Western Kansas such as mosasaurs, and explore trace fossils and make their own using models and clay. Fossil-themed action labels prompt visitors to Grab Like a Utahraptor, Snack Like Stachyocrinus, and more.

Explore selected mobile museum displays below with action labels to get moving and learn about ancient life.

Grab Like Utahraptor / Snack Like Stachyocrinus / Cruise Like a Clam

Swim Like Diplocaulus / Show Those Sabers / Dance Like Deinonychus

Dine Like Diplomystus / Build Layers Like Bacteria / Flourish Like an Early Fern