Mail Services

Front Office Mail

Address: Museum of Vertebrate Zoology 3101 Valley Life Sciences Bldg. University of California Berkeley, CA 94720-3160 Intercampus Mail Code: 3160 All MVZ faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students are assigned a mailbox in the Front Office. Mailboxes are located to the right of the doors leading to the Gallery. If your tenure at the MVZ ends, please give the Front Office Manager your forwarding address and notify your contacts of your new address.

Incoming Mail

  • Incoming mail is typically delivered mid-morning
  • If you receive a package, you will be notified via a small note in your mailbox
    • Packages are stored in front of the mailboxes or on the floor beneath the table
    • After retrieval, please leave the package note in the central mailbox marked “Supplies & Package Notices”
  • Loan returns/incoming shipments containing biological materials (specimens, tissues, etc.) should be coordinated with a Staff Curator to ensure that quarantine procedures are followed and all paperwork and permits are in order

Outgoing Mail

  • Affix a MVZ barcode to the bottom left-hand corner (not the top right-hand corner where postage goes)
  • Place off-campus mail in the dark wood box to the right of the mailboxes
  • Outgoing mail charged to the MVZ is for museum-related business only
  • Write the campus department’s mail code on each piece of mail (see UC Berkeley Mail Codes )
  • Place mail items in an intercampus mail envelope
  • Place intercampus mail envelopes in the light wood box to the right of the mailboxes

Shipping Guidelines


    • Bring packages to the front office to be mailed; speak with the Front Office Manager directly or by e-mail
    • Speak to the Front Office Manager early if same-day pickup is required
    • FedEx pickups must be scheduled by early afternoon
    • The Museum has a standard moratorium on shipping loans between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Using campus mail adds an additional day of transit.

FedEx Letters should be dropped in the FedEx box on the circle at the West Gate (collected daily at 4:30 PM). Small FedEx packages can also be dropped in the box unless they contain biological materials or chemicals. Any larger packages, or packages with biological/hazardous materials, cannot be dropped in the box–a pickup must be scheduled and packages with biological/hazardous materials must be packed or checked by a Staff Curator.

Typically the MVZ does not use USPS to ship biological materials; it is difficult to track these shipments, they require special paperwork, and not all items are allowed. For international shipments of biological materials, it is best to use FedEx or another express courier (e.g., DHL). Requirements may vary depending on the shipment, courier, and destination country.

The MVZ pays for museum-related mail only (e.g., donations of specimens, loans, return of loans). Project-related shipping charges for packages must be paid using personal research funds. Payments for shipments other than those initiated by MVZ curatorial staff should be worked out in advance of shipping. See the Front Office Manager for questions about shipping charges.


Outgoing shipments containing biological materials (e.g., specimens, tissues) should be coordinated with the appropriate curator to ensure that all paperwork and permits are in order.

  • Birds: Carla Cicero (ccicero[at]
  • Herps: Carol Spencer (atrox[at]
  • Mammals: Chris Conroy (ondatra[at]
  • Genetics Lab: Lydia Smith (lydsmith[at]

There are very strict legal rules about shipping dry ice, ethanol, and formalin, especially to foreign countries. Such shipments must be supervised by trained personnel (e.g., Lydia Smith or a staff curator).

Packages with dry ice should be sent via FedEx. Dry ice must be specified on the waybill and a completed black diamond sticker must be placed on the outside of the package. Please ask Chris, Carol, Carla, or Lydia for guidance.

If you are unfamiliar with any aspect of this process, stop and get help! As noted above, shipment of dry ice and other hazmat (ethanol, formalin) requires special training. Only a few trained managers in the MVZ can legally do this. All hazmat shipments going out via FedEx will need to go out through LSA and have an EH&S sticker on it.

Courier Information

USPS mail is delivered/collected once per day around 9:00 AM.
Only USPS can deliver to a P.O. Box.
Other couriers generally deliver once per day in the late morning/early afternoon.
DHL, FedEx, and UPS require a recipient phone number.


Recommended for shipments containing dry ice, formalin, or ethanol.
Recommended for international shipping.
International shipments require a Commercial Invoice .


Not recommended for biological specimens.