What is the purpose of dusty, old specimens locked away in natural history museums across the world? Counter to this perception, they actually serve as active sources for knowledge and inspiration. With over 380 million specimens worldwide collected by thousands of botanists over centuries, herbaria comprise an enormous ecological resource for understanding the world around us. Historically collected for use in taxonomy, museum specimens are increasingly being used in novel and unanticipated ways. Heberling will present an overview of the past, present, and future uses of plant collections in natural history museums to understand environmental changes in an era of rapid global environmental change and appreciate the diversity of life in our own backyards.