The collections of the North Museum of Natural History and Science reflect the cultural and natural history of South Central Pennsylvania through the significant cultural and scientific objects that have been acquired by the Museum to further its mission as a premier educational institution and provide a window to world issues. The collections document the history of the region in which it exists and are maintained by the Museum for use in its education, research, and public service activities.
The collections were originally owned by Franklin and Marshall College. They were begun through the collecting activities of College faculty and staff during the first half of the 19th century. On June 11, 1889 the College trustees formally accepted responsibility for housing the collections of the Linnaean Society, which had been chartered on February 15,1862. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the College's collections grew as a result of faculty and staff collecting, and by gifts and bequests to the College. Professional curators were first hired for the science collections in 1908 and for the art collections in 1981. On January 1, 1998, Franklin and Marshall College transferred ownership of the science collections to the North Museum Corporation.