The New York State Museum is an internationally recognized research and education institution. Our research legacy can be traced to our founding as the New York State Geological and Natural History Survey in 1836. The primary focus of the research mission of the New York State Museum has been the investigation of the diversity and history of life on earth. The central concept guiding this effort since 1859 has been the scientific theory of evolution. A scientific theory unifies explanations of observed phenomena and provides a framework for the formulation and evaluation of hypotheses that ask questions related to those explanations. The theory of evolution is central to the scientific understanding of how life originated on earth and how it continually changes and diversifies.
Through research, collections, publications and exhibitions in biology, geology, and paleontology, the Museum has contributed substantively to the collective evidence for evolution and the testing of hypotheses derived from the general theory of evolution. As an educational institution, the Museum supports and encourages the teaching of evolution in schools as a fundamental component of scientific competency and literacy.