Collectors' Corner

Collectors' Corner

Collecting things found in your natural environment is a way to celebrate and explore your relationship with the world. Natural artifacts can tell a story about their origins and the history of ecosystems in which they are found. Collections are repositories of knowledge and ideas.

Trade your natural objects here!

The Collectors' Corner, a mini exhibit in the What On Earth? experience platform, invites you to share, trade and display your best finds from nature and exchange them for points based on what you know.

How to get started: Bring your specimen to the Collectors' Corner between 12:00–2:00 pm, and tell our staff all about it! You'll earn points for what you know. 

Trade now or later: Open a Collectors' Corner account, and we'll keep track of your points. Trade with the points that you have earned immediately, or save your points for a future trade.


You can collect and trade many kinds of natural objects from around the world, but some things aren't allowed because they're either protected species or unsafe for our visitors.

You CAN collect and trade these things:

  • Rocks and geodes
  • Shells
  • Pine cones and acorns
  • Fossils
  • Dead insects
  • Clean bones and skulls (no flesh attached)
  • Snake skin sheddings

These things CANNOT be traded at the Collectors' Corner:

  • Bird feathers, eggs or nests
  • Animal mounts
  • Any protected or endangered species
  • Missipissippi River mollusks (they're endangered)
  • Any animal (dead or alive)
  • Wildflowers



How to Collect and Display Insects

How to Pin an Insect (video)

Plants & Flowers

How to Press and Preserve Plants

How to Press Flowers, Leaves and Herbs

How to Press Plants for Mounting on Herbarium Sheets (video) 

Questions? Contact us at scienceinquiries@sciowa.org.

The Collectors' Corner is sponsored by a Iowa Department of Natural Resources REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection) grant.