My visit to the May Natural History Museum

Since I was seven years old, I have been fascinated with insects, especially butterflies and moths. Growing up I did have an insect collection. I would collect and mount them on pins in glass cases. As I got older though I began to appreciate the very same insects being alive. It got to a point where collecting insects no longer mattered to me, despite the importance of these collections. These days I would prefer my entomological work to be raising and releasing local butterfly and moth species, and photographing the progress.

I will never fault anyone who has and insect collection. It is in fact a very rewarding hobby. It’s just not for me, even though I do enjoy looking at other peoples’ collections. The collection at the May Natural History Museum is one such collection that I was able to ooooh and ahhhh about in 2016.

This collection of over 7,000 specimens is one of the largest private collections open to the public. For over 80 years, May Museum Founder James May traveled the world finding over 100,000 fascinating specimens of bugs, insects and other things that crawl on the ground.

Known as the “Bug Museum” to many children and families around the area, the May Natural History Museum is a fun place for bug enthusiasts, scientists and anybody wanting to explore the creepy and crawly! This is definitely something that I can attest to.

When I entered the oversized room, I was instantly blown away by the sheer quantity of what I was seeing. Though butterflies and moths are my favorite, I am also a fan of the gigantic beetles and other creepy crawlies that were on display. It took me about two hours to get through the entire collection and it was worth every minute.

It was unfortunate to see so many specimens faded from years of being in direct light, but this did not take away from my enjoyment of the place. It was also nice to be able to see so many species that I had read about, but never seen in person.

The May Museum is Colorado Springs’ premier bug museum! You name the bug and they’ve probably got it. They are located at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains in between Colorado Springs and Canon City. They have everything from giant tropical insects and spiders to thousands of colorful butterflies and moths. Their museum is home to squishy beetles, gigantic spiders and deadly scorpions, all perfectly preserved. Families and school groups have been visiting their for decades. With this large of a collection, there’s a bug for everybody!

If you are in Colorado Springs, I highly encourage you to visit the May Natural History Museum. Even if you are not a fan of insects, this collection may help you truly appreciate the importance and diversity of these animals. Their address is May Natural History Museum, 710 Rock Creek Canyon Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80926. Their phone number is 719.576.0450. M

Most collections of this type are in storage at the major museums, never to be seen by the public. This is the perfect opportunity the experience the insects and arachnids of the world.

~David Albaugh

2 responses to “My visit to the May Natural History Museum

  1. Greetings David,

    Found your email in the comment section, trust you won’t mind my correspondence.

    I to like yourself was fascinated with Lepidoptera at a very early age. Now at 67 the enthusiasm and interest has never waved. 

    Let me congratulate you on your continued work as a conservationist. There is so much work that has to continue in conservation of not only Lepidoptera but all living creatures. Loss of habitats and warming of the planet continues to take its toll on mother nature. Trust your efforts as well as many others who strive to make a difference will have positive outcomes for all these glorious creatures. I wish you the very best in your efforts.

    The writing and photos you shared of the Argema mittrei were truly inspiring. I have recently purchased Paul Villiard book, soft cover edition and found it helpful. One other book which was my bible at a tender young age was W.J.B. Crotches, A Silk Moth Rearer’s Handbook published in the UK. Now that book still continues to amaze me with so much insight and detail into the world of the Saturniidae. A great reference handbook for anyone having an interest in breeding Saturniidae. 

    Terribly sorry for my long email.. Forgive me! 

    Would you know of any individuals who do breed exotic Saturniidae? In particular the moon moths, Argema, Attacus and Rothschildia species? Certainly appreciate if could point me in the right direction.

    Do take great care in these challenging times and thanks ever so kindly for your undivided attention.

    Respectively yours,

    Craig 

    • Thank you for your kind comments, Craig. As for the moth species you are interested in, the do appear now and then but not often within the United States. I would check the Lepidoptera Livestock classifieds on insectnet.com. When Villiard’s book came out, you could get everything from everywhere, with no restrictions. Times certainly have changed!

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