The Schiele Museum was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections assembled by Bud and Lily Schiele over the course of their lives. These objects form the core of the museum's collections, which have grown through the generosity of individual donations, purchases and gifts. The collections provide the foundation of the museum's exhibition, research and education programs.
Our collections include more than 150,000 objects in the broad category of ethnology, which includes archaeology, Catawba pottery, general ethnology, kachinas, Native American baskets, Native American jewelry, North American pottery; and natural sciences to include bird eggs, entomology, lepidoptera, mineralogy, mycology and paleontology.
Our Archaeology Collection contains items such as arrowheads, pottery shards, glass and other artifacts from our research projects. We have more than 650 pieces of Catawba Pottery, including 263 pieces from The Larry A. Ware Collection, giving us one of the largest museum-owned Catawba pottery collections in the country.
General Ethnology Collection
Our General Ethnology Collection, which includes objects such as shirts, moccasins and dolls, represents several American Indian cultures.
American Indian Basket Collection
In our American Indian Basket Collection, we have nearly 200 baskets from tribes such as Catawba, Cherokee, Navajo and Hopi.
American Indian Jewelry Collection
Necklaces, rings, and bracelets made from clay or semi-precious stones and metals are found within our American Indian Jewelry Collection.
Our Kachina Collection includes figures made primarily by Hopi artists.
American Indian Pottery Collection
Pots, bowls, animal effigies and pipes from tribes such as Acoma, Pamunkey and San Ildefonso compose our American Indian Pottery Collection.
Beal Bird Egg Collection
The Beal Bird Egg Collection includes more than 900 specimens from Arctic Terns to Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
In our Entomology Collection, we have more than 50,000 specimens of insects, spiders and beetles.
The Malacology Collection at the Schiele Museum is a compilation of primarily marine and terrestrial mollusks from several personal and professional collections. Mollusks include the aquatic snails and clams as well as land snails and slugs, including many miniature species under 3 millimeters. The Schiele mollusk collection houses over 10,000 specimens and 800 species of marine and terrestrial mollusks, making it one of the largest in the state.
The marine mollusk collection at the Schiele is mostly a dry collection of shells from the east coast of the United States with a number of exotic species from various locations worldwide. The shells comprise about 80 – 90% of the known species of marine mollusks found in North Carolina and surrounding states. The largest portion of the Schiele collection was collected by Denise Furr, Schiele Malacologist, over a period of 40 years on the southeastern coast of the United States. This collection also includes the Ed Menhinick Collection from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Menhinick collected marine mollusks from the Woods Hole area of Massachusetts and southern Florida. Other donated collections have contributed exotic species from Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Pacific Islands. Freshwater mollusks have a limited representation in the collection as well.
A special emphasis has been placed on terrestrial mollusks in the last decade at the Schiele. The important role of the terrestrial mollusk in ecological studies has recently been recognized by several researchers in the state. The Southern Piedmont has been a relatively understudied area in terrestrial malacology even though about 75 species are indigenous to the region. The Schiele Malacologist Denise Furr is actively contributing to this research by collecting and studying the Piedmont land snails. The Schiele Museum has one of the largest collections of terrestrial mollusks in the state, with many alcohol preserved as well as dry specimens of over 125 species of pulmonate (primarily land) mollusks, primarily from the Piedmont of North Carolina.
More than 1000 butterflies from Gaston County to India are held within our Lepidoptera Collection.
Taxidermy Mounts Collection
Mr. Schiele himself prepared many of the more than 600 taxidermy specimens we have in our Taxidermy Mounts Collection.
Gems and Minerals Collection
Our Gems and Minerals Collection contains more than 1000 specimens including Blue Tourmaline from Brazil, Lazulite from North Carolina and Tiger Eye Quartz from South Africa.
Most of the 1300 fungi and mushrooms in our Mycology Collection are from North Carolina.
Our Paleontology Collection contains fossils of vertebrates, invertebrates and plants collected primarily in the Western United States.