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Erwin H. Barbour

Director, Nebraska State Museum

Related Buildings

Museum (Old)

Morrill Hall

Dr Erwin H Barbour (1856-1947) joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska in 1891. He originally was hired as a Professor of Geology and Zoology, and soon after became Director of the Museum. In 1891 he organized the Nebraska Geological Survey. Shortly after his arrival, Barbour interested Charles Morrill in establishing a fund to finance the field work needed to collect fossils. The professional relationship and eventual friendship established in the 1890's proved to be a fruitful one that lasted the lifetimes of both men, and resulted in the tremendous expansion of the Nebraska State Museum and it's the outstanding collection of fossils.

Barbour was a man of tremendous energy. His 50 year career saw the construction of two museum buildings, as well as the organization and growth of collections. In all of his Museum endeavors, he was assisted by his sister, Carrie Barbour. He was also active in many civic organizations such as the Boy Scouts, the Board of Education, and the City Planning Commission. Edwin Barbour retired in 1941 at the tender age of 85, when he became Director Emeritus of the museum.

Source Information:
Archives and Special Collections, UNL Libraries.
Letters of Morrill and Barbour written between 1915 and 1927 housed in Nebraska State Museum Archives in Nebraska Hall.
Article written by Chancellor Burnett on Charles Morrill and the Museum in Nebraska Alumnus, Dec 1931, The Founders Room.