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The Central Michigan University Herbarium was established in the 1930s by Ms. Faith Johnston, a professor in the Department of Biology. Stored in Grawn Hall, the herbarium was a single cabinet of mounted plant specimens used as a teaching aid for the Nature Study course. At the time the Herbarium was first established, Central Michigan University was known as Central Michigan College. Consequently, the Herbarium was named the Central Michigan College Herbarium and given the official acronym CMC. This is the established acronym still in use today.

In 1962, Dr. Matthew Hohn was hired as Herbarium Director. He initiated a floristic inventory of the Beaver Island Archipelago and contributed these specimens to the Herbarium. In 1965, under the direction of Dr. Hohn, the CMC herbarium acquired additional herbarium cabinets and moved to 118A Brooks Hall. Brooks Hall has since been remolded and the old herbarium room no longer exists.

In 1992 the herbarium, now under the direction of Dr. Daniel Wujek, moved to 103 Brooks, where it is currently housed. Under the directorship of Dr. Wujek compactors were installed in the herbarium increasing the herbarium capacity to house plant collections by 75 percent. Over the years, in an effort to expand the herbarium, Dr. Wujek required students to collect and prepare plant specimens in his Aquatic Plants and Field Botany courses. These specimens have been incorporated into the collection. In addition, Dr. Douglas Valek and his Dendrology class have added many tree and shrub specimens to the herbarium collection.

In the fall of 2005, Dr. Anna Monfils became the Director of the herbarium and she has continued the tradition of enhancing and expanding the collection. The Plant Systematics and Great Lakes Wetland Plants students regularly collect and prepare specimens that are included into the collection. The facilities have been recently upgraded. The CMC herbarium now has an official logo and mission statement. The herbarium has continued to grow steadily as students and faculty members collect all over the state doing regional, national and international plant research and documenting floristic inventories.