Archbold Expeditions was established by Richard Archbold in 1936 as an operating foundation for the purpose of research and exploration in natural history. Its scope was worldwide but emphasized explorations in the Australian and Pacific regions, especially on the island of New Guinea. Deteriorating political conditions in the South Pacific in 1940 forced Archbold Expeditions to set up a base in a biologically interesting region of the United States where research could continue. Donation of the Red Hill Estate near Lake Placid, Florida, by John A. Roebling, II, allowed Mr. Archbold to establish Archbold Biological Station in 1941 as the principal home for Archbold Expeditions and its research programs. The foundation continued to fund limited research in the South Pacific, mainly through a curatorship at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Following Mr. Archbold's death in 1976, the Board of Trustees elected to terminate the museum relationship in order to focus its resources permanently and exclusively on the Archbold Biological Station.
Richard Archbold's sister Mrs. Frances Hufty assumed the Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of Archbold Expeditions and she continues to serve in this role to this day. The Board is currently comprised of 14 trustees, including several members of Richard Archbold’s family, scientists, and other professionals who guide the organization’s success. They meet annually at Archbold Biological Station and hold regular quarterly committee meetings.