Since 1968, the Karl E. Limper Geology Museum has been serving Miami University, residents of southwestern Ohio, area schools, and local geologists--both amateur and professional. Initially known as the Miami University Geology Museum, it was renamed in 1982 to honor Dr. Karl E. Limper, who taught at Miami between 1958 and 1981.
Even before the Department of Geology was created in 1920, faculty teaching geology at Miami obtained and used collections in their teaching efforts. Between 1920 and 1967, when the department occupied Brice Hall, a few display cases highlighting teaching and research collections were present, but central organization was lacking. These collections were essential to teaching classes in introductory geology, earth history, mineralogy, petrology, and paleontology. During planning for a new building (Shideler Hall) in the early 1960's, faculty and administrators had the foresight to designate space for a museum to house, maintain, and properly display the department's various collections. This approach, rooted in the recognition that geology is a collections-based science, greatly facilitated undergraduate education in geology. From this point forward, the department and the museum grew in mutually complementary ways because of the close relationships between the museum's displays and holdings and the department's courses in paleontology, earth history, mineralogy, sedimentology, and petrology. Importantly, this relationship continues in the present day in an even more diverse manner.
The goal of enhancing the undergraduate educational experience at Miami University has always been at the center of the museum's mission. Over the last five years, approximately 1,025 Miami undergraduate students per year have visited the museum as part of class or laboratory activities. These students represent several courses from numerous departments and divisions, including Geology, Architecture, Botany, Education, English, Environmental Science, History, and Zoology.