Three experiments examined the effects of perirhinal cortex lesions on rats' retrograde and anterograde memory for object-discriminations and water-maze place-memory problems. In Experiment 1, rats learned two object-discriminations - the first was learned 2 weeks before surgery and the second 24 h before surgery. Rats with perirhinal cortex lesions displayed mildly impaired retention of both object discriminations, with no evidence of a temporal gradient. They also learned a new discrimination at a normal rate, but were impaired on a retention test 24 h later. In Experiment 2, rats learned two water-maze place problems, conducted in different rooms - the first was learned 4 weeks before surgery and the second during the week immediately before surgery. Rats with perirhinal cortex lesions displayed deficits on the early retention trials of both place problems, but they quickly relearned both problems. In Experiment 3, rats with perirhinal cortex lesions learned a new place problem at a normal rate and performed as well as control rats on a retention test 3 weeks later. Although some of the results are consistent with the conclusion that perirhinal damage disrupts storage or retrieval of place information acquired before surgery, additional considerations suggest instead a role for perirhinal cortex in the representation of nonspatial information that makes a useful but nonessential contribution to water-maze performance.