Visitors in the Learning Lab
Visitors looking at fossils under the Microeye microscopes in the Learning Lab

Explore 450 million years of Hoosier history in the heart of campus. The IGWS Learning Lab is an experiential learning center that brings our collections out of storage for hands-on discovery.

Part museum, part lab, and part classroom, the Learning Lab is where you can compare thousands of rocks, minerals, and fossils, create art inspired by our collections, explore real-time datasets, and participate in interactive activities. Pull open drawers to discover real specimens and question the world beneath your feet using scientific evidence. The Learning Lab is open to people of all ages and abilities from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday in Room 1011 of the Geology Building.

After you explore the Learning Lab, extend your visit by touring our exhibits. Rotating displays on a wide variety of earth science topics are located in the east lobby of the Geology Building. Exhibits feature select objects from IGWS collections.

Tours and Programs

The IGWS offers a variety of programming to meet the needs of teachers, students, and community members. Drop by for a self-guided exploration or contact us to schedule a group visit.

  • Hands On! Self-guided tour- Drop-in 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday for a firsthand exploration of the rock, mineral, and fossil specimens in the Learning Lab. Explore at your own pace with self-guided materials.
  • Class Field Trips- Bring your preschool, K-12, university, and homeschool groups to the Learning Lab for a free field trip. Groups of 10 or more people can request a field trip that includes a hands-on activity, Learning Lab exploration, and a scavenger hunt. Field trips can be scheduled during our normal business hours and on select Saturdays; all trips are subject to availability. Click here to submit a field trip inquiry.
  • GeoCreate- Dive into a range of art-making practices and make your own artwork inspired by our collections. This drop-in program is offered on select Tuesdays, no registration is required.
  • Webinars and Lectures- Are you interested in learning more about a specific topic of Indiana geology? Contact us to schedule a virtual webinar or group lecture at the Learning Lab.

Current Exhibitions

Meet the Mastodon

The American Mastodon (Mammut americanum) was designated as Indiana's state fossil in 2022. Explore fossil bones and see how you size up against Ice Age megafauna.

Student-Curated Exhibit : Mineral Identification

See minerals from our collections and learn how to identify them using their physical and chemical properties. This exhibit was created by Adele Novak, a senior high school student at Harmony School.

Digital Exhibitions

Curiosity Cabinets: Revitalizing the Cabinet of Curiosity for the 21st century with the IGWS Learning Lab

Discover the rocks, minerals, fossils, speleothems, hydrocarbon resources, unconsolidated sediment, and building stones housed in the Learning Lab.

Resurrecting Megajeff: Uncovering the Hidden History of IU's Lost Megalonyx jeffersonii

"Megajeff" is a nearly complete skeleton of a Megalonyx jeffersonii giant ground sloth that once existed within the natural history collections at Indiana University. Surviving fossilization, railroad transport, and fire, the specimen was ultimately destroyed by a lack of understanding of the importance of natural history collections. This digital exhibit was supported by the Office of the Bicentennial.