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University of Wisconsin Zoological Museum

Madison, Wisconsin    USA

About the UW Zoological Museum

The Zoological Museum is associated with the University of Wisconsin Department of Zoology. The Museum consists of a 10,000 square-foot collections storage and research facility, and a small exhibits gallery. The gallery is open to the public most weekdays, but access to the collections is restricted. Qualified researchers and students wishing to visit and/or use the collections must contact the staff to make an appointment.

Mission Statement:

Galapagos tortoiseThe University of Wisconsin-Madison Zoological Museum was established to be a center for research and educational support for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  It was likewise charged with acting as a depository for biological specimens and knowledge deriving from activities of State of Wisconsin agencies.  It is dedicated to the preservation, study, and understanding of the vertebrate and aquatic fauna of Wisconsin, the Midwest, and other parts of the world.  The Museum acquires, processes, accessions, and houses documented specimens resulting from field and laboratory research and the work of contributing agencies.  The collections provide a library of primary information basic to studies of animal and human ecology, systematics and genetics, and morphology. Mission and Strategies 2007-2009... pdf


History of the Museum

In 1848, even prior to construction of the first university building, the University of Wisconsin Regents requested that specimen collecting for a “Natural History Cabinet” be initiated. Horace Tenney, later the Assistant State Geologist, with guidance and assistance from Increase Lapham, began collecting samples for use in teaching of zoology and natural history courses. With completion of North Hall in 1851 the collections were housed there; in 1855 the growing museum collections were moved to newly built South Hall.  Upon completion of University Hall in 1859 (later Bascom Hall), the collections were moved once again. By 1865 the specimen inventory had reached 12,137.  More museum history...



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