Located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California, the University of La Verne is an independent, non-profit private university providing rich educational opportunities for both the academic and personal development of its students in a friendly, engaged setting. The University's Cultural and Natural History Collections was established in 1891, when the doors first opened at Lordsburg College, the predecessor of the university. The Collections has been supporting the educational mission of the institution ever since as both a teaching collection and museum.

The Cultural and Natural History Collections at University of La Verne houses over 100,000 items covering more than 65 million years of history. All our materials were donated by alumni, faculty, scientists, naturalists, historians, anthropologists, and community members for use in student-centered, faculty-driven, and community engaged research, teaching, and exhibitions. Our mission is to conserve, preserve, and share objects, artifacts, and specimens from Earth’s cultural and natural history for the benefit of current and future generations.

INFLUENTIAL VOICES, our new speakers series

Introducing our new speakers series, INFLUENTIAL VOICES, where twice a year we present a conversation with thought leaders of today. Each event is an opportunity for students and the community to engage in the world of ideas, meet people who have met and overcome challenges, and interact with those dedicated to enriching our common humanity.

***April 18, 2021, A Conversation with Pico Iyer, a globe trotting essayist and author, friend of the Dalai Lama, and one of the most eloquent and incisive observers of our emerging global culture. The Conversation will be Online at 3-4 p.m. PDT.  To attend, please RSVP for the Zoom link.

***November 8, 2020, A Virtual Dialogue with Le Ly Hayslip, humanitarian, memoirist, & founder of East Meets West Foundation and Global Village Foundation, and the subject of Oliver Stone’s film, Heaven and Earth (1993). A recording of the Dialogue is available here.

James Z. Gilbert Collection

The Pleistocene specimens were collected from the famed La Brea tar pits by James Zaccheus Gilbert, who is responsible for creating the core collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Our Tar Pit materials were originally excavated during Gilbert's early years and have been stored for over a century, untouched or examined by scholars. In addition to the Pleistocene specimens, the Collections has a Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) taxidermied by Gilbert in 1917, as well as fossil fish specimens that he and David Starr Jordon collected at the turn of the 20th century during their research trip in Lompoc, California.

Louisa Williamson Hutchison Basket Collection

Born in California in 1865, Louisa W. Hutchison was a prolific collector of early California and Western Native American baskets for nearly seventy years, "each with its particular history, and each obtained directly from the Indians" (Los Angeles Times, 1 June 1940). Her father, Nelson Williamson, was the first to homestead on the Rancho de Azusa Dalton, their home located on what is now the Santa Fe Dam. Having grown up in the San Gabriel Valley, Mrs. Hutchison was very familiar with the local Native American tribes and customs. A portion of her enormous and impressive basket collection was donated to the University of La Verne through her granddaughter, Virginia Hutchison Robins in 1977 and 2020. The baskets represent twenty-six tribal affiliations, of which eighteen are Californian.