Collectors' Corner

Natural objects traded here!

Here's How...

  • Find an interesting object like a rock, fossil, skull, or pine cone.
  • Note the surroundings of your discovery. Be sure to write down where and when you found it.
  • Think about what it is, how it grew, what it ate, or why it's important.
  • Do some research and learn more about your specimen.

Bring it to the Collectors' Corner in the museum's Mississippi River Gallery

  • Tell the Collectors' Corner staff about your specimen.
  • Earn points for what you know.

Trade Now or Trade Later

  • Open a Collectors' Corner account. We'll keep track of your points.
  • Trade with the points you earn immediately or save your points for a future trade.
  • You may trade two items per day.
Frequently asked questions

What are points?
Points are your reward for sharing your knowledge about the object you bring to the Collectors' Corner. Points are used to trade for other objects. Money is useless here. You may use your points that day or save your points on our computer database. You can earn the most points by bringing in a report and/or a drawing of the item you are trading. Remember the more you know about your object the more points you earn.

What can I bring in to trade?
You may trade rocks, fossils, pine cones, skulls and bones, dead insects, and shells. Sorry, we do not accept any live animals. 
Here are some other things you can NOT trade at the Collectors' Corner:

  • Bird feathers, eggs, or nests
  • Animal mounts
  • Anything from protected or endangered species
  • Mollusks from the St. Croix or Mississippi Rivers
  • Any animal - dead or alive
  • Wildflowers

Do I have to trade my item to get points?
In most cases, yes, you have to trade your item. If your object is too valuable or sentimental to you, bring it in and share what you know about the object. We'll give you points for your knowledge only.

What's worth the most points?
We have crystals, skulls, and large shells. These items come and go fairly quickly.

Must I buy museum admission to visit the Collectors' Corner?
Yes, you must pay admission to trade at the Collectors' Corner.

Can I trade via the mail?
No, you must come into the museum to trade.

Do I have to be a museum member to trade?
No, we have many traders who are not museum members.

Can I donate to the Collector's Corner?
Yes, we often accept donations of the objects we trade. Please call or send us an email explaining what you have to donate.

Tips for Collectors

Take one or two and leave the rest. Don't over-collect.
Respect nature and private property.
Leave things as you found them.
Don't collect protected items.
Learn more about the items you collect.
Take along a small notebook to record your observations.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact us at