Educational Loan Collection  

jarsCreate enduring learning experiences by using museum specimens in your classroom! 

Imagine learning about volcanoes by closely examining samples of pumice and basalt, or making firsthand observations about camouflage by comparing the color patterns of bird eggs. The museum’s loan program helps educators create enduring learning experiences by providing thousands of items including minerals, fossils, wildlife mounts, and thematic kits on subjects ranging from ancient Egypt to tropical forests. In an effort to help young learners build literacy skills, many loan boxes contain multiple copies of relevant children’s literature.


All participants of the Educational Loan program receive access to a museum educator who can help you select the right kits to enhance your curriculum.

To borrow materials, call 412.622.3254 or email


Subscriptions are available on a two-week or annual basis.

Two-Week Fee  Annual Fee 
$50 $150 for enrollment of 400 and under;
$200 for larger enrollments


There is no limit on the number of items that may be requested; a typical loan includes approx. eight kits, boxes, or cases in any combination. Annual fees grant unlimited borrowing privileges to all faculty for 12 months from the date of registration.

Borrowing Procedures
Materials are picked up from and returned to a loading dock near the Portal Entrance accessed from the museum parking lot. Hours for pickup and return are 7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily. Detailed directions will be emailed upon request.

Several school districts use district vans and drivers for the transport of museum loan materials. Many educators also arrange for parent volunteers to assist with the task of pickup and return.

Available Materials 

Click here to download the full loan program catalogue with complete descriptions and sizes of each package (Adobe PDF, 400 Kb).

Thematic Loan Kits
Kits generally contain specimens, artifacts or replicas, and related audio-visual and printed materials.

  • Archaeology: Tools and Technology
  • Desert Wildlife
  • Dinosaurs: Mesozoic Marvels
  • Gifts from the Sea: Native Northwest Coast Fishing
  • The Hopi
  • The Inuit: Past and Present
  • Inuit Games
  • Life in Ancient Egypt: Scribes and Farmers
  • The Monongahela: Prehistoric Pennsylvanians
  • Pawprints (mammal tracks)
  • Pennsylvania Botany
  • Pennsylvania's Endangered Species
  • People of the Plains
  • Rock and Mineral Identification
  • Tropical Forest Wildlife

Topical Boxes
Topical Boxes are groups of specimens or artifacts packaged as a single unit.

  • African Artifacts
  • Bats
  • Bird Beaks and Feet
  • Bird Eggs
  • Bird Flight
  • Bird Nests
  • Bird Skulls
  • Bird Song
  • Bird Study Skins
  • Coral
  • Freshwater Mussels
  • Fossils
  • Horns and Antlers
  • Mammal Bones
  • Mammal Pelts
  • Mammal Study Skins
  • Mammal Skulls
  • Ocean Life
  • Owls
  • Pittsburgh Rocks
  • Poisonous Plants
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Sea Shells
  • Sea Turtles
  • Sharks
  • Taxidermy
  • Textures in Nature
  • Volcanic Rocks
  • Whales

Animal Specimen Cases
These portable cases display actual mounted specimens. Many different species are available within each category; please call to discuss your needs.

  • Amphibians
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Insects
  • Mammals
  • Mollusks and other Invertebrates
  • Reptiles


Don't let cost be a barrier! Support may be available for some outreach programs. Call the Group Visits Office at 412.622.3289 for more information.