Edna W. Lawrence Natural History Collection

In the 1920s and ’30s, RISD faculty member Edna W. Lawrence (a 1920 graduate of the Painting program) would spend summers driving across the country collecting natural specimens for students to work with in her Nature Drawing class. In 1937 she founded the Nature Lab with an original collection of 1,286 objects (including shells, butterflies, minerals, skeletons, seed pods and taxidermy) that grew to more than 25,000 items by the time she retired 38 years later. Today the Natural History Collection includes nearly 80,000 individual specimens.

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The RISD Nature Lab is an EPSCoR|C-AIM Core Research Facility supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221 and EAGER Grant Award #1723559. ​​​Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the Nature Lab and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.​

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