Tucked among classrooms and auditoriums in Ordway Hall on the Washington Street Campus of Amarillo College lies a collection that tells an intricate story of the natural history of the Texas Panhandle and beyond.
The Amarillo College Natural History Museum curated by biology professor Dan Porter houses a variety of specimens from around the world.
“We have one of the largest insect collections on public display in the United States,” Porter said. “It’s actually one of the Howard insect collections from Richard Howard, who was one of the professors here at Amarillo College back in the 80s and 90s.”
Some of the specimens in the museum were mounted by Howard himself. During his time at Amarillo College, he taught a class on taxidermy, and some of the students’ specimens are still in the museum today.
“We actually have a mouse that is curated here in the museum, a house mouse, that one of his students mounted,” said Porter.
Additionally, the museum contains many specimens from around the world, including one of the largest North American deer, an elk, an African cape buffalo, and in recent weeks, a mountain lion.
“We have specimens from around the world, but a lot of them that we have are game species from North America or from Africa. We have a nice display here of birds of prey, we have bald eagles and the golden eagle here,” said Porter. “Mr. Howard mounted both of the specimens that we have here in the museum.”
The Amarillo College Natural History Museum doesn’t have set hours during the summer, but visitors can schedule a private tour by emailing Dan Porter through the museum website, actx.edu/nhm.