Community FAQs

Who do I contact about MVZ facilities issues?
For non-emergency, business hours facilities issues, contact Front Office Manager Carlie Magill (carliemagill[at] For after-hours building maintenance, call the Facilities Services at 510-642-1032 and notify the Front Office Manager via e-mail. Visit the Emergency Contacts page for more information.

What are the rules about live animals in the Museum?
It is against VLSB rules to keep live animals in the Museum, including pets. Live animals must be kept either in an animal use facility on campus or at home.

What are the rules about food in the museum?
Food should not be eaten in any of the collections or lab spaces. This is for your own safety (exposure to pesticide residues/chemicals) as well as for the safety of the specimens (pest control/splash protection). Food should only be kept and eaten in offices, in the Grinnell-Miller Library, or in the Herpetology reprint room/lunchroom (a.k.a. “Herp Lounge”, where the microwave ovens are). Avoid keeping food for long term in your office. If you do have products stored in your desk, keep them in sealed hard-sided plastic boxes or glass jars. This includes coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, creamer, etc. Many museum pests can easily chew through plastic bags and cardboard — do not assume your food is safe in these! Be especially wary of storing oatmeal, cereal, sugar, and chocolate in your area for more than 6 months. Visit the Food Waste page to learn about acceptable disposal of food, drink, and recyclables within the MVZ.

How can I arrange for a tour of the Museum?
The MVZ is not a public museum. However, tours can be arranged for UC Berkeley labs, classes, and for special events on a case-by-case basis. Carlie Magill (carliemagill[at] is the coordinator and all tour requests should be initiated through her. All specimens or archival material of interest should be conveyed well in advance (preferably a month or more prior to the tour date). Please give at least one month notice of your tour request. Requests made less than two weeks prior to tour date will be denied!

What are the rules about bringing visitors into the MVZ?
Generally speaking, we ask that visitors in the museum be kept to a minimum. If you do bring visitors into the MVZ, it is crucial that you introduce them to the receptionist at the front desk. This is especially important when student workers are at the desk because they may not be familiar with the entire MVZ community.

The receptionist’s job is to protect the collections by screening for unauthorized guests. If you are expecting visitors, let the Front Office Manager know in advance. If you do not plan to be at the front desk when they arrive, leave a phone number where you can be reached. And, just because you bring a visitor in does not mean you automatically have authorization to show visitors the collection, open cases, etc. Please check with MVZ curators for each collection before giving any tours.

How can I reserve a room in the Museum?
The Grinnell-Miller Library and the Herp Lounge can be reserved in advance for a meeting by anyone in the Museum. To reserve the room, sign up with the Front Office Manager or ask to be added to the Google Calendar to reserve rooms online. Keep in mind, if you are a GSI for a class, office hours are NOT allowed in the MVZ. Visit Room Reservations for more information.

Is it okay to take books, journals, reprints, or field notes from the library?
The MVZ library is for general use, but not for general abuse. We would like all materials to remain in good condition and available to the whole community for many years. To ensure that, archived journals, reprints and field notes are NEVER allowed to leave the library. Books, journals, and reprints may only be removed from the shelf if signed out on the available sign-out sheets in the library. No field notes are to be removed from the Library without express permission from the Archive managers and Staff Curators. Return books and reprints to their original positions once done.

Many of our historic field notes and journals are available on the Eco Reader site. For loans or to copy/scan any material, including field notes, contact Archives co-managers Michelle Koo or Carla Cicero.

What field or curatorial supplies are available, and how can I get them?
The MVZ provides certain supplies for field work and collection of specimens that will be deposited in the Museum. We have limited supplies for loans, and some items are first-come, first-served. The earlier you reserve the items, the better! There are certain things that we do not provide, and you don’t want to be left without needed supplies at the last minute. It is important to PLAN AHEAD, because some supplies are custom-ordered and others may be back ordered. If you are planning a long field trip, or a field trip that requires specific equipment and chemicals (e.g., tape recorder/microphone, LN2 tank, nitrogen), we recommend at least one month’s notice. Visit the Field Supplies page for more information.

Can I use the MVZ field vehicle?
The MVZ Field vehicle is available for use by MVZ faculty, staff, students, and official UC volunteers with prior arrangement and for work-related use only. It is owned and insured through the UC campus. Keep in mind that if you check out the vehicle, you are responsible for any tickets you receive and damage you incur on the vehicle that is not covered by the insurance. The vehicle is available for short (e.g., weekend) field trips, or for longer MVZ trips upon authorization by the Director. You must complete both the Driving Record Request Form and Release Form. To request use of the vehicle, contact Terri Barclay at tlynnwong[at] or (510) 642-1379.

Where can I get a parking pass the loading dock?
The Museum has two permits for temporary parking (30 minute limit) at the loading dock. Permits are available through the Front Office.

What office supplies and machines are available at the front office?
The front office has a print/copy/scan/fax machine available for your use. General office supplies such as pens, pencils, tape, highlighters, post-its, and copy paper are also available at the front office.

Can I send outgoing mail and packages from the front office?
Work-related mail can be sent from the front office and is charged to the museum’s general operating fund. Work-related packages can be shipped from the front office, but shipping costs must be charged to your research fund. If you want to send mail or packages from the front office, contact the Front Office Manager. If you have specimens or tissues to mail, speak to one of the Staff Curators. It is not legal to send these without proper labeling! Visit Mail Services for more information.

What is the situation with undergraduates working in the MVZ?
The MVZ has an award-winning undergraduate program with over 100 undergraduates working as volunteers, research apprentices, and paid assistants each semester. Visit the Undergrads/Volunteer page for more information.

Who do I contact about MVZ purchasing and reimbursements?
If you need to place an order or get reimbursed with UC funds, first inquire with the PI or your advisor (whomever is authorized to oversee the funds). Then log into BearBuy, Cal’s online purchasing system. If you are a first-time user, it is recommended you take the online training course and speak with John Stenske (jstenske[at], MVZ’s financial analyst.