Bringing the science of planet Earth into the lives and careers of all by sharing knowledge and raising awareness for the Earth, its history, its resources, and the environmental issues facing society.
The museum, through its collections, displays and programs aims to foster a broad and diverse appreciation for all features and processes of planet Earth for all ages, both within and outside the university community.
Conceived as a Canada centennial project, the University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum was founded in 1967 as The Biology−Earth Sciences Museum, and opened to the public in 1968. Funding was provided by the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of Culture. It was initially housed in two rooms with a total floor area of 280 m2, in the university’s Biology One building.
A geological garden was opened in May 1987. It consisted of 23 donated specimens representing various Ontario geological formations. It was renamed The Peter Russell Rock Garden, in honour of the museum’s curator, in 1999, and now contains over 80 specimens from all over Canada and parts of the United States.
In 1994, the Biology department withdrew its involvement and the museum became known as the Earth Sciences Museum. The museum remained in the original space until August 2003 when it was moved to the newly built EIT building. Curator Peter Russell and Cheryl Atkinson of Teeple Architects were involved in the design of the Exhibit Atrium of the EIT building, so unique facilities, optimized to accommodate museum exhibits, were incorporated into the new structure.