When Was the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Founded?

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is one of the most revered institutions of its kind in the world. It is a hub of scientific inquiry and learning, with exhibits and collections that span millions of years and countless species.

But when was this iconic museum founded? Let’s take a look at the history.

The Early Years

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History was founded in 1920 by Cyrus S. Eaton, who was an industrialist and philanthropist. Eaton had a passion for natural history, having collected specimens from all over the world during his travels. He envisioned a museum that would showcase these specimens and educate the public about the wonders of nature.

The First Location

The museum’s first location was in University Circle, which is still its current home today. The original building was much smaller than the current one, but it served its purpose well. The exhibits were arranged in a series of galleries that covered everything from archaeology to zoology.

Expansion and Growth

Over time, the museum grew in size and scope. Exhibits were added, collections were expanded, and educational programs were developed.

In 1958, a major expansion project was undertaken that doubled the size of the museum. This allowed for even more exhibits to be added and for larger crowds to be accommodated.

Today’s Museum

Today, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is one of the premier natural history museums in the world. It boasts an impressive collection of over 5 million specimens, including fossils, minerals, plants, animals, insects, and more. Its exhibits cover everything from dinosaurs to outer space, with interactive displays that engage visitors of all ages.

  • Fossil Halls: Visitors can explore ancient creatures like T-Rexes and woolly mammoths.
  • Planetarium: The museum’s planetarium offers an immersive experience that takes visitors on a journey through the stars.
  • Lewis and Clark: This exhibit explores the famous expedition undertaken by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the early 1800s.


The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a testament to the power of passion and dedication. Cyrus Eaton’s vision has been realized in ways that he likely never could have imagined. Visitors from all over the world come to explore this incredible institution, which continues to inspire and educate new generations of scientists and nature enthusiasts.