Mission and history


The Oakes Museum of Natural History creates exhibits, programs, and research to inspire wonder, discovery and love of the natural world.


After many years of planning, the Oakes Museum of Natural History opened in 2002. The idea of a natural history museum began in 1992 when Messiah College accepted an African mammal collection from Camp Hill native Leonard Hinkley. After committing to opening a museum, many other people, many who were also local, donated their collections. There are over 180 mammal specimens on display in the museum's African and North American animal collections.  The museum's scientific collection houses over 60,000 specimens.  Over 25 donors have contributed to the museum's collections, some giving one specimen, some giving upwards of a thousand individual items. 

The Oakes Museum of Natural History is named for generous support of Galen and Beulah Oakes of Massillon, Ohio.