The Interior Museum's collection contains more than 8,000 objects of historical, cultural and scientific importance documenting the Department of the Interior's history and missions, the art and architecture of its 1930s headquarters building (the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building), and the administrations of the secretaries of the Interior since 1849:
More than 2,000 historical objects serve as touchstones to the agency's diverse bureaus. Some represent "tools of the trade" for scientific discovery, stewardship, and protection—from land management to law enforcement. Others are emblematic of policy priorities, while yet others chronicle major initiatives or milestones. Many are official items gifted to the Department.
Nearly 1,500 works of art—from two of Thomas Moran's masterpieces of the American West to official secretarial portraits—provide inspiration and insight into the Department.
Approximately 430 natural history specimens relate to the science, conservation, and resource extraction-related missions of the Department's bureaus, past and present.
Over 1,500 artifacts reflect the culture, history, and geographic diversity of more than 100 American Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages. Among the pieces dating from the late 1800s to the early 1900s are 18 katsinas; over 50 textiles, rugs, and saddle blankets; nearly 170 ceramics; and a culturally significant array of more than 800 baskets.
The Department's role with U.S. territories and insular areas dates to the 1930s. Today, the Department specifically coordinates federal policy for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Department also manages federal assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The Interior Museum stewards more than 600 artifacts that express this history. The collection includes representative handcrafted pieces—such as baskets, dolls, and carved storyboards—as well as gifts presented to Interior officials.