Mike the Tiger threatened by leak in LSU’s Foster Hall


The first Mike the Tiger, who is housed in the LSU Museum of Natural Science in Foster Hall

By Robert Mann

In our continuing saga about the crumbling LSU campus, we look at Foster Hall, just north of the Middleton Library.



LSU’s Foster Hall

Foster Hall houses the LSU Museum of Natural Science. According to its website, the museum’s mission “is acquisition, preservation, and study of research collections by Museum faculty, staff, students and associates to generate knowledge of global biodiversity and human prehistory, to promote an understanding and appreciation of nature through excellence in science education for the benefit of the people of the state, the nation, and the world.”

The museum also houses the stuffed remains of the first Mike the Tiger, a major attraction for school groups and others. It’s a hidden wonder of Baton Rouge and LSU. You could pass several delightful hours taking in its extensive collections.


Screenshot 2016-01-21 15.13.50

Exhibits in the LSU Museum of Natural Science in Foster Hall

I knew about this remarkable  museum as a child living in Beaumont, Texas. You see, the museum was then the home of one of its founders and one of my heroes, Dr. George Lowery, the author of the magnificent ornithology book, Louisiana Birds. I still treasure the letter I received from Lowery sometime in the late 1960s, after I wrote him a fan letter.

The museum houses a world-class collection of bird specimens. According the museum’s website, its bird collection “(more than 178,000 specimens) is the third-largest university-based collection in the world (behind Harvard and Berkeley). The museum’s holdings of birds from Peru, Bolivia, the West Indies, and the Southeastern United States are the largest in the world, and the collection is among the 5-10 largest in the world from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Argentina. The collection contains 140,000 skins, 22,000 complete skeletons, 8,000 fluid-preserved specimens, 12,000 stomach-content samples, and thousands of tape-recordings of bird vocalizations.”

This important collection can also be lost if Foster Hall is not properly maintained. And it’s not. Among other problems, the ceiling leaks. The photographs below were taken on Thursday by a faculty member at the museum.

Today, Mike I is threatened. Next week, it could be the museum’s valuable bird collection.



Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to LSU’s pollen collection. That collection is not housed in Foster Hall. I regret the error.

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4 Responses to Mike the Tiger threatened by leak in LSU’s Foster Hall

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Mike the Tiger….Foster Hall.

    Maybe former governor Mike Foster would consider chipping in something for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debbie Cassel says:

    How ironic that one of the banners the above Mike I display by the leak is “Preserve”. Apparently there is very little preserving taking place at the facilities on the campus.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathy Newman says:

    OMG IT NEVER ENDS. Every time it rains a decent amount, the basement floods. The basement stores the alcohol preserved (wet) specimens because the bird and mammal skins collections would be ruined by water. Some of our teaching collection skeletal specimens on the second floor get moldy because that HVAC unit doesn’t dehumidify — when it’s warm and humid outside, it’s humid indoors. Haven’t seen Facilities Services around in a while…I think they gave up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrew Sluyter says:

    I’ve visited a lot of universities in Latin America over the years for research and service work, and I used to bemoan the state of some their facilities. AS OFS has suffered year after year of budget cuts and so many aspects of our campus have not been maintained, it looks more and more like a regional public university in Central or South America. Those of us who visit universities in the underdeveloped world have seen LSU’s future, and it’s not one to aspire to.


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