Exploring the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

Welcome to the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, located in Claremont, California. This museum is not your average dinosaur exhibit; it is the only nationally accredited paleontology museum located on a high school campus in the United States. The museum has an extensive collection of prehistoric fossils and exhibits that showcase the history of life on earth. Whether you are a paleontology enthusiast or just looking for a unique museum experience, the Alf Museum is well worth a visit. Let’s explore the history and highlights of this fascinating museum!

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is a top-rated museum that showcases a remarkable collection of fossils and prehistoric artifacts. Established in 1936 by Dr. William J. Fox, the museum was initially a small exhibit of fossils. Later, it became the first accredited museum on a high school campus in the United States, thanks to the exceptional work of its founder and faculty.


The history of the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology dates back to the early 20th century when Dr. William J. Fox discovered the value of fossils in teaching science to his students. Believing that hands-on learning was the best way to engage young minds, Dr. Fox started a small fossil exhibit at the Webb School in Claremont, California.

The exhibit gained popularity, and in 1936, Dr. Fox and his students built a small museum to house the fossils. The museum was named after Raymond M. Alf, one of Dr. Fox’s students, who died in a car accident. Alf was passionate about geology and paleontology, and it was through his work that the museum got its start. Over the years, the facility has expanded, and today, it occupies a 7,207 square foot building on the Webb School campus.


The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology has an extensive collection of fossils spanning more than 500 million years of Earth’s history. The museum’s collection features prehistoric animals such as mammoths, bison, and giant sloths, as well as dinosaurs and marine creatures like sharks and whales.

The museum has an impressive collection of hominid fossils, including those from the famous La Brea Tar Pits. These fossils provide significant insights into human evolution and the behavior and lifestyle of early humans.

One of the most significant finds at the museum is the Shasta Ground Sloth, which was discovered in northern California. The Shasta Ground Sloth was one of the largest mammals to ever live and weighed around 2.5 tons. Due to the scarcity of these fossils, the Shasta Ground Sloth is a rare find and an invaluable addition to the museum’s collection.

Research and Education

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is not just a museum; it is also a center for research and education. The museum offers students and scholars access to its extensive collection of fossils and prehistoric artifacts for research purposes.

The museum also offers educational programs for all ages, from preschoolers to adults. The programs include lectures, workshops, and guided tours of the museum exhibits. The museum’s outreach programs target underserved and marginalized communities, aiming to inspire and engage a diverse audience in scientific learning.

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology has received numerous accolades for its work in paleontology and science education. The museum’s founder, Dr. William J. Fox, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2012 as a testament to his contribution to science education. The museum continues to inspire and educate visitors from around the world, making it one of the best places to explore the history of life on Earth.

Visiting the Museum

Location and Hours

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology can be found on the campus of The Webb Schools in Claremont, California. Its location makes it easily accessible to the public and visitors are welcome on select days throughout the year.

The museum is open every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1pm to 4pm, and on Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. It is closed on Thursdays and Saturdays, as well as during major holidays.

Exhibits and Tours

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology boasts a collection of over 175,000 specimens, making it one of the most important and diverse collections in the world. Visitors can explore the museum’s exhibits, including the Hall of Footprints and the Hall of Life.

The Hall of Footprints is a fascinating exhibit that showcases a variety of footprints left by dinosaurs, mammals, and other prehistoric creatures. Visitors can learn about the different types of footprints and what they reveal about the animals that made them.

The Hall of Life exhibit takes visitors on a journey through time, exploring the evolution of life on Earth. This exhibit showcases specimens of prehistoric plants and animals and highlights the various environmental changes that have occurred throughout history.

For those who want to learn even more, the museum offers guided tours led by student docents. These tours are an excellent way to discover the hidden gems within the museum and to gain a deeper understanding of the exhibits and their significance.

Admission and Membership

Admission to the museum is free, although the museum suggests a donation of $6 per person to help support its mission of educating the public about the importance of paleontology.

Becoming a member of the museum is also an option for those who would like to support the museum’s ongoing work. Members receive free admission, invitations to special events and lectures, and discounts on museum store merchandise.

Membership options include:

  • Individual Membership ($50 per year)
  • Family Membership ($75 per year)
  • Patron Membership ($250 per year)
  • Benefactor Membership ($500 per year)

Membership fees go directly to supporting the museum’s educational programs, research, and collection maintenance.


The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is a must-see destination for anyone with an interest in the history of life on Earth. With its extensive collection of specimens and knowledgeable student docents, the museum provides an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Visit the museum’s website for more information on hours, exhibits, tours, and membership options.

The Legacy of Dr. Raymond M. Alf

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is a testament to the lifelong work of Dr. Raymond M. Alf. Dr. Alf dedicated his life to education and innovation. He served as the director of the Alf Museum for over 30 years and was a beloved teacher and mentor at The Webb Schools. During this time, he made significant contributions to the field of paleontology and revolutionized the way that students learned about the history of the earth.

A Life of Education and Innovation

Dr. Alf firmly believed in the importance of hands-on learning and was a pioneer in the field of paleontology. He recognized that students needed more than just textbook knowledge to understand the history of the earth fully. Therefore, he created the first accredited museum located on a high school campus. This museum was incepted to provide a unique learning experience for students across the world.

Dr. Alf was renowned for his exceptional field research conduct and was part of numerous expeditions across the globe. He also brought his students on these expeditions, where they worked in close proximity with paleontologists to gain hands-on knowledge of the field. Dr. Alf’s work has inspired numerous students and researchers alike to take up paleontology as a field of study.

The Alf Award

To honor Dr. Alf’s legacy, the museum has instituted the Alf Award. The award recognizes high school students who have shown exceptional achievement in the field of paleontology and earth sciences. This accolade includes a monetary award of $500 and an opportunity to work as a research assistant with the museum staff. The award recognizes those students who have shown promise in the field of paleontology and also motivates them to work harder to achieve their goals.

Continuing Innovation

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is still building on Dr. Alf’s legacy and is making significant contributions to the field of paleontology. The museum is home to over 200,000 specimens and has various research opportunities available for students and researchers. The museum provides hands-on experiences, such as the chance to work on fossil preparation. The museum also offers online classes in paleontology to extend knowledge and awareness on the topic.

The museum is still actively evolving and recently made new collections available for research. The latest addition to the museum’s collection is a complete T-rex skeleton, which has stirred up the paleontology community with new research opportunities. The institution is continuously expanding its educational programs to provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of Earth’s history.

In conclusion, the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is a testament to the lifelong work of Dr. Raymond M. Alf. Dr. Alf’s dedication to education and innovation and his emphasis on hands-on learning have set the standards for the museum. The Alf Award, instituted to honor Dr. Alf’s legacy, inspires and rewards promising students in the field of paleontology. The museum’s continuing dedication to research, collection, and educational programs ensures it will continue to make significant contributions to the field for years to come.

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