The Lyman Entomological Museum was founded in 1914 with a bequest from the noted lepidopterist Henry Herbert Lyman (1854-1914). Lyman’s collection of 20,000 butterflies and moths formed the nucleus of the Museum collection, which was augmented over the years by substantial collections of other insects contributed by curators such as Albert Winn, George Moore, Keith Kevan and Vic Vickery. The collection was first housed in the Redpath Museum, but was relocated to the Macdonald campus in 1961 and merged with the Macdonald Insect Collection in the Department of Entomology. Today the collection numbers nearly three million specimens of insects, the 2nd largest collection in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The Museum holds one of the best collections of grasshoppers and crickets in the world.
The Lyman bequest included an endowment to maintain the collection and support research grants for students, as well as provide acquisitions for books. Henry Lyman’s personal library of 78 books, including many rare editions, is located in the Macdonald Library. The endowment continues to fund acquisitions to the Lyman book collection, which includes more than 3,700 titles. Keith Kevan also donated his collection of books, but they remain in the Museum. The Museum’s research laboratory also holds a reprint file, which contains more than 100,000 titles on insect taxonomy, as well as a collection of rare serials, many of which are complete runs.
The collection is housed in metal cabinets fitted with drawers and arranged by taxonomic order. The collection houses irreplaceable type specimens of approximately 100 species, as well as a beetle collected in the 1830s by Charles Darwin.
The outreach program at the Lyman Museum is particularly strong, with several hundred school children and summer day campers visiting each year. The curator has expanded the public education program to include schools in both the anglophone and francophone sectors. Loans to other research institutions include specimens provided to the Redpath Museum for its biodiversity program, and the Montreal Insectarium for exhibitions.
Basement level of Centennial Centre, Macdonald campus.
Lyman Entomological Museum and Research Laboratory
Access is by appointment. Tours can be organized for groups. The Curator handles loans of a few thousand specimens each year to researchers from other institutions.
Active for teaching and research.
terry.wheeler [at] mcgill.ca (Dr. Terry Wheeler) , Director
stephanie.boucher [at] mcgill.ca (Stephanie Boucher) , Curator
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Macdonald campus