In celebration of its 150th anniversary, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters hosts an exhibition that recreates the natural history and archaeological collections gathered by early Academy members such as Increase Lapham, Philo Romayne Hoy, Thomas Chamberlin, Charles E. Brown, and Edward Birge. Curated by Martha Glowacki and Jody Clowes, Collections & Connections embraces a nuanced view of the Academy’s historical collections, considers the complex legacy of this small but influential organization, and looks to the Academy’s future. The exhibition and a series of related events reflect on the Academy’s changing role over its 150 year history, address the importance of scholarly research and intellectual discourse in public life, and examine the cultural shifts that have affected the Academy’s work.
In a sense, we are reconstructing a lost history to uncover what the Academy’s founders were surveying and collecting. Their collections reflected a 19th-century landscape that has been radically changed: effigy mounds looted or razed, prairies plowed under, wetlands drained and ridges flattened. We hope that this fictive recreation of the Academy’s collections—like a cabinet of Wisconsin curiosities—will blow the dust from its remarkable history, raise important questions about the ends and means of scientific investigation, and inspire us to reflect on the work of the Academy's founders.” - Jody Clowes
Thanks to Academy donors, members, and the following partners for their support: