Mammal Collections Manager

Darrin Lunde sitting at a table that has mammal specimens.  He is holding one in his hand. A computer and shelves are behind.
Darrin Lunde studying mammal specimens in the collections at the National Museum of Natural History. Image by Lauren Helgen, Smithsonian.

Darrin Lunde is the Smithsonian’s collections manager for mammals—the largest collection of its kind in the world.  Darrin started his career by building his own natural history museum when he was just ten years old, and by the time he went to college, he had mastered specimen preservation. After graduating from Cornell University, Darrin was hired by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where he stayed for twenty years joining field expeditions to the remote corners of South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. He has discovered dozens of new species and shed light on hundreds of other lesser known mammals.

Darrin earned a Masters’ degree from the City University of New York and much of his interest in museums stems from having grown up in “nature deprived” New York City. For Darrin, museum collections are an important link to nature, and he is driven by the thought that in another century museums may be our only connection to the wild animals we take for granted today. At the Smithsonian, Darrin continues a program of active field work with his goal being to illuminate the rich diversity of mammals with which we still share the world.