The Kansas State University Museum of Entomological and Prairie Arthropod Research (KSU-MEPAR) was established in 1879 by E. A. Popenoe, the first full-time entomologist employed at then Kansas State College.

Many of the specimens were collected from local and regional prairies between 1880 and 1920, providing valuable historical specimens and records of the fauna before the land succumbed to farming and ranching. The collection has grown considerably since that time and is estimated to contain approximately 838,000 specimens.

For many years, a primary aim of the collection was to obtain specimens of as many species of Kansas insects as possible, paying special attention to those of economic importance. A groundswell of interest in native prairies and their fauna, and the realization that intact prairies are fragmented, endangered, and disappearing, stimulated a new focus for the museum on the native prairie biota.