​UWSP Museum of Natural History - Exhibits

The exhibit arm of the UW-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History is housed within Albertson Hall (also known as the university library, or ALB), on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The natural history exhibits are supported by 25,000 square feet of collections storage and research space containing over 400,000 specimens from eleven scientific disciplines.
 
Our permanent exhibits consist of a series of large biologic dioramas depicting environments from around North America as well as Africa, and an extensive display depicting the Menominee Nation’s Clan system, Origin Story and its associated anthropomorphic Creation Beings. More about this amazing exhibit created by renowned traditional Menominee artist James Frechette Junior, may be found at: www.uwsp.edu/museum/menomineeClans/.
 
The Museum also offers rotating displays with recent offerings focusing on paleontology, entomology, mammalogy, and Native American-related exhibits.
Feel free to visit us or read about the exhibits in our Self-Guided Tour (PDF).

Permanent & Rotating Exhibits

 Geology/Mineral Exhibits

Rocks are made of minerals. The types and amounts of minerals present and the amount of time they take to crystallize and cool determine the kind of rock. The display cases in this room contain many minerals, allowing you to see the great range of possibilities for rocks to form.

 Dinosaur Alcove

Earth’s timeline continues within the dinosaur alcove. All of the animals displayed existed thousands to millions of years ago and most, if not all of them, are now extinct. Although these animals are no longer alive, they can still leave clues behind about where they lived, what they ate, movement, behavior and much more. As you look around the dinosaur alcove, try to think about what these animals were like by the way they look or the fossils they left behind! Can you find the button near the t-rex skill? Push it and see what happens!
 
Dinosaur Alcove Picture

 African Dry Savanna

This diorama depicts Africa during the dry season. In the U.S., our main seasons are summer and winter but in areas around the equator, there are dry and wet seasons. During the dry season, there is less humidity and rain. With many rivers and water holes drying up, animals travel great distances to gather at the few remaining places of water, including predators who benefit by having their meals come to them.
 

 

 Desert Biome

Exhibit depicts plants and animals endemic to North American deserts, illustrating adaptation to extremes in temperature and seasonal weather/rainfall. Original artwork depicts south-western desert flora and fauna. Exhibit includes small interactive display where visitors push buttons to illuminate desert burrows and typical occupants.

 Grassland/Wetland

Grasslands PictureExhibit depicts flora and fauna typical of North American prairie and wetlands areas containing mounts of endemic birds, mammals and flora. Exhibit includes a small original painting as a background depicting prairie habitats.

 Snow Glade

Snow Glade PictureExhibit includes a large diorama depicting Western North American high plains to mid-elevation montane displaying mounts of a Cougar, Grizzly Bear, Mule Deer, Bobcat, Canadian Lynx and Mountain Goat. Mounts are depicted in various biomes within the larger ecosystem.

 Fish Cases/Marine exhibits

Exhibit includes a live native fishes of Wisconsin aquarium and small cases displaying mounted examples of Wisconsin native fish species, birds and other fauna and flora associated with marshes and lakes. Several ceiling mounted Shark species (Hammerhead Shark and Bull Shark) typical of California and Gulf coast waters complete the display.IMG_5334.JPG

 Arctic Tundra

The arctic tundra circles the North Pole and is a place of extremely cold temperatures, little rainfall and no trees. Most of the species exhibited are current residents or once lived in Wisconsin during the last Ice age and are adapted for surviving harsh, freezing, conditions. The bird species shown here are migrants- flying south before the arrival of the long, Arctic winter.
 

 Northern Forests

Upper Great Lakes biome

The forest of the Great Lakes region support many species of plants and animals that must survive with the changing seasons. Some animals have adapted by migrating, hibernating, or changing their behavior to deal with the harsh conditions of a Northern winter.
 
 

 Schoebeck Egg Collection

Schoenbeck Egg Collection imageThese cases contain selected examples from a large historically significant pan-North American egg collection displaying 768 specimens collected between 1880 and 1925. Collection also includes examples from Africa, Europe and Australia. This display consists of three newly constructed cases arranged by family. This display includes such rare or extinct varieties such as Passenger Pigeon, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, and Whooping Crane. Associated specimens collected in concert with the eggs include complete nests and multiple mounted examples of the bird species themselves. These specimens are curated for research within the Ornithological collection.

 Northern Raptors

This collection shows the Great Lakes region birds of prey (raptors) - all of which are currently found in Wisconsin. Birds of prey are distinct in their acute eyesight, carnivorous (meat-eating) diet, and their sharp beaks and talons. They mainly hunt by sight and can detect movement from long distances. Many of them are able to ride thermals (columns of warm, rising air) and stay aloft for hours by barely flapping their wings.  In the mid 1900’s, many birds of prey became victims of the pesticide DDT as it concentrated at the top of the food chain. Thankfully with important legislation and conservation, many of the raptors have made successful recoveries.
 

 Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeon Exhibit imageThis Exhibit includes a male Passenger Pigeon collected in the late 1880’s in Central Wisconsin, along the Rock River. The specimen was anonymously donated and may represent one of the last of this species collected in Wisconsin. Exhibit details local historic habitats including a known nesting ground and theories surrounding this species extinction (Newcastle’s Disease, habitat loss, over-hunting etc.). An original diorama background painting depicting typical habitat and local landforms completes the exhibit and served as a model for the production of a museum exhibit-associated educational poster series.

 African Wet Savanna

In contrast to the dry season depicted near the front of the museum, this exhibit portrays the African savannah during the wet season. This season is marked by an increase in rainfall resulting in an abundance of plants, water and food. Rivers and bodies of water flood and create critical new annual habitats for plant and animal species. 

 Menominee Clans Story Exhibit

The Menominee Clans Story exhibit contains a display unique in North America. This large culturally significant diorama depicts a stunningly accurate assemblage of hand-carved figures by noted Menominee elder and traditional craftsman James Frechette Jr. The exhibit figures and extensive background canvas depict the traditional origin story and creation of the Menominee Clans system and location upon the shores of Lake Superior in prehistory. Each individual carving represents a single creation being endowed with specific powers and charged with clan-associated duties. Figures depict various tasks and material culture artifacts of traditional use in Menominee pre-contact culture. Menominee Clans Story image This exhibit and the carvings it contains are of great cultural value and significance to the Menominee Nation, and the carvings themselves are imbued with cultural agency. Each figure is viewed as the living physical manifestation of that particular original Clan ancestor and as such, are seen as sentient beings possessed of human characteristics and attributes, especially those attributes seen as positive models for dealing with personal, tribal and natural issues such as human and environmental ethics and resource conservation. For more information on this iconic exhibit visit the Menominee Clans Story website at: www.uwsp.edu/museum/menomineeclans/.

 Rotating Archaeological / Native American Exhibits

Rotating Exhibit imageThese displays present rotating examples of material culture objects associated with Native American use of the Central Wisconsin area. Examples include Ho-Chunk and Ojibwa basketry and a traditional Menominee dugout canoe constructed at the turn of the century and collected about 1920. This dugout represents one of the last traditionally constructed watercraft of this type in Wisconsin.

 Rotating Paleontological Exhibits

Three exhibit cases outside the museum proper within the ALB lobby currently hold Eocene fossils collected by UWSP students and faculty over the last 25 years. Fossil cases include Eocene fish and insect insect fossils recovered from the Green River Formation Laggerstatten (an extremely rich or well preserved fossil locale), a series of evaporative lakes formerly located within Wyoming and Utah.
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