History of the Museum

Historically, a long list of dedicated faculty and staff (see below) have worked to make North Carolina State University (NCSU) a center for excellence in insect systematics. First among these workers is Zeno P. Metcalf, who between 1912 and 1956, established NCSU as a leading institution for research and training in insect systematics, particularly the taxonomy of the Hemiptera.

The Department of Entomology began developing an institutional insect collection (rather than a number of personal collections) during the early 1950's. Metcalf was initially in charge of the departmental collection, which incorporated his extensive personal collection of Hemiptera. In 1955, the NCSU Insect Collection and the Department moved into room 4321 of the newly completed Gardner Hall. Soon after Dr. Metcalf's death (early 1956), leafhopper specialist David A. Young accepted a faculty position at NCSU (1957) and took on the administration of the Collection, which continued to grow in size and importance under his direction. In the late 1970's David L. Stephan assumed responsibility for the Collection, a task by then of such magnitude that the need for a full-time collection manager became apparent. In early 1979, Carol S. Parron was hired to fill this newly created staff position and a Departmental Museum Council was established. In mid 1980, Lewis L. Deitz was appointed Director of the Collection. Robert L. Blinn, who replaced Parron as the Collection Manager (1987), designed a database application to inventory holdings and manage accessions and loans (1992). Molecular systematist Brian M. Wiegmann initiated the Museum's Genome Bank.

Rapid growth of the Collection during the 1980's and 90's made it necessary to expand into two adjoining rooms (4317 Gardner in 1995; 4317 Gardner in 1996) as planned in the original design for Gardner Hall. In December 1980, an inventory of the Collection estimated holdings at approximately 719,178 prepared specimens. Current holdings are estimated to exceed 1,144,170 prepared specimens (December 1997). In 1997, the National Science Foundation funded a grant for the expansion of the Collection, including the incorporation of recent large acquisitions.

Faculty and Staff Associated with the NCSU Insect Museum

B. B. Blaimer (Faculty & current director of the Museum: 2017-present)

R. L. Blinn (Collection Manager: Heteroptera: 1987-present)

C. S. Brimley (Faculty: North Carolina Insects: 1920-1927)

B. K. Cassel (Technician in Molecular Systematics: 1996-present)

L.L. Deitz (Faculty & Director of Collection: Homoptera: 1980-2006)

M. H. Farrier (Faculty: Acarina: 1955-1991)

B. B. Fulton (Faculty: Orthoptera: 1928-1954)

K. L. Knight (Faculty & Department Head: Culicidae: 1968-1980)

W. M. Kulash (Faculty: Elateridae: 1943-1960)

Z. P. Metcalf (Faculty & Department Head: Auchenorrhynchous Homoptera: 1912-1956)

T. B. Mitchell (Faculty: Apoidea: 1925-1961)

H. H. Neunzig (Faculty: Lepidoptera & Megaloptera: 1957-1992)

C. S. Parron (Collection Manager: Aphididae: 1979-1987)

P. O. Richter (Faculty: 1950-1951: Scarabaeidae)

F. Sherman (Faculty: Agricultural Experiment Station Entomologist: 1902-1907)

C. F. Smith (Faculty & Department Head: Aphididae & Braconidae (Aphidiinae) : 1939-1979)

D. L. Stephan (Faculty & Head Curator of Collection: 1974-present)

H. K. Townes (Faculty: Hymenoptera: 1951)

B. M. Wiegmann (Faculty: Diptera & Molecular Systematics: 1994-present)

D. A. Young (Faculty and Head Curator of Collection: Cicadellidae: 1957-1980)

Historical References

  1. Brett. C. H. [1975] North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Entomology 1776-1976. [Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh] 199 pp.;
  2. Deitz, L. L. 1983. North Carolina State University Insect Collection. Tymbal, Auchenorrhyncha Newsletter (Commonwealth Institute of Entomology, London) 2:8;
  3. Deitz, L. L. (compiler). [1984 (dated 1983)]. Featured institution--North Carolina State University at Raleigh. Association of Systematics Collections Newsletter 11(6):65-69;
  4. Deitz, L. L. 1991a. David Allan Young 1915-1991. Tymbal, Auchenorrhyncha Newsletter (CAB International Institute of Entomology, London) 17:2-8 [with annotated bibliography];
  5. Deitz, L. L. 1991b. David Allan Young, Jr. (1915-1991). American Entomologist 37(4):251;
  6. Deitz, L. L. 1992. David Allan Young, Jr. (1915-1991). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 94(3):390-395 [with annotated bibliography];
  7. Schnell, M. [1987 (dated 1986)]. N.C.S.U. Collections: the Insect Museum. Research Perspectives (North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, North Carolina State University, Raleigh) 5(3):8-9.

Grants, Awards, and Donations

The NCSU Insect Museum database was compiled with support from the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service and the National Science Foundation (grants DEB-9815867 and DEB-9978026). In 1997 the Museum was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for expansion of the research collection, and we now house collections in excess of 1.4 million prepared insects. Significant recent acquisitions include the David L. Wray Collection of Collembola and the Tom Daggy Insect Collection (primarily Coleoptera), each representing at least 50 years of specialized collecting in North Carolina. The award (NSF DEB-9709141), supplemented by funds from NCSU, provided archival storage for these acquisitions, permitted their integration into existing holdings, and facilitate scientific access to NCSU's resources.