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.
Basement level of Centennial Centre, Macdonald campus.
Access is by appointment. The Curator handles loans of a few thousand specimens each year to researchers from other institutions.
Active for teaching and research.
stephanie.boucher [at] mcgill.ca (Stephanie Boucher)
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Macdonald campus