The Delaware Museum of Natural History
was founded in 1957 by John Eleuthere du Pont
John Eleuthère duPont was an American multimillionaire and member of the prominent du Pont family who was convicted of murder in the third degree...
near Greenville, Delaware
Greenville is a census-designated place in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. The population was 2,326 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Greenville is located at ....
and opened in 1972. It is known for its extensive collections of seashells, birds, and bird eggs. It is the oldest natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...
museum in Delaware.
John duPont built a personal collection of seashells, birds and bird eggs starting in childhood. He authored several books on birds and became interested in developing a natural history museum. Henry Francis du Pont
Henry Francis du Pont , Harvard 1903, married 1916 Ruth Wales was an American horticulturist, an expert on early American furniture and decorative arts – particularly of the Federal furniture, and a member of the prominent du Pont family....
provided land across from Winterthur
Winterthur is a city in the canton of Zurich in northern Switzerland. It has the country's sixth largest population with an estimate of more than 100,000 people. In the local dialect and by its inhabitants, it is usually abbreviated to Winti...
for the museum at John duPont's request. The museum opening was attended by 200 duPont family members, and representatives of other Northeastern natural history museums.
Since 1993, the museum has hosted a Dino Days event near Christmas. The museum had a major expansion in 2005 to add educational and exhibit space.
The museum began with a collection of 1,000,000 sea shells and 100,000 bird eggs. These were used by scientists to measure pesticide contamination of wild species in early ecological studies.
The museum has expanded to include a exhibits on dinosaurs, mammals, and Charles Darwin.