The Zuhl Collection 

The Zuhl Collection, on display in the east wing gallery of the New Mexico State University Alumni and Visitors Center, contains petrified wood, fossils, rocks, and minerals. This gallery is easily accessible to local citizens, school groups, and visitors to the University and southern New Mexico. Additional items from the collection are displayed in the Zuhl Library, located four blocks east near the center of campus. Many other pieces from the Zuhl Collection Database can be found in museums and galleries throughout the world.

Hours of Operation

Monday- Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except holidays. Open the 2nd Saturday of each month.
775 College Drive, Las Cruces, NM. 


For more information about the collection or to set up a tour, please contact Director of Zuhl Collection, Tiffany Holder-Santos at or (575) 646-4714. 


On vacation in Arizona from their New York City home, Herb and Joan Zuhl saw a farmer removing a petrified log from his field. Intrigued, the Zuhls dug up a log and shipped it home, beginning a new passion and successful business. 

Cutting and polishing pieces of petrified wood produced assorted museum specimens and art objects soon in high demand in their Manhattan gallery. This career continued for 30 years. 

When the Zuhls retired to Las Cruces, they had a collection of more than 2,000 pieces. Many of these have now been presented to NMSU, making them available for all to enjoy. 

In 2003, another gift from the Zuhls underwrote the cost of remodeling and expanding gallery space in the Alumni and Visitors Center to house never-before-seen pieces from their collection. 

Donated Information

The exhibit was designed by Herb and Joan Zuhl, in collaboration with the NMSU Department of Geology. Objects are arranged in chronological order from the Precambrian (4.5 billion- 543 million years ago) to the current Cenozoic era, which began 65 million years ago.

Fossil remains of extinct animals and plants as well as dinosaur bones and tracks of ancient amphibians spark the imaginations of young and old alike.

Several displays enable viewers to see the beauty that is discovered when petrified wood is cut and polished to highlight the mineral content that replaced wood fiber so many years ago.

One of the most outstanding pieces is a large, wall-mounted specimen of a petrified pine tree from northern Arizona. It is one of the largest pieces of petrified wood ever cut and polished and required special wall reinforcement to support its weight.

Over 1,000 items are currently on display in the gallery and on the grounds. The Zuhl Collection is an educational and aesthetic treasure and an invaluable addition to NMSU and the community.

Zuhl Collection Database (click here)

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