Shared and Distinctive Missions

Anne Brataas, Sally Kohlstedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


College-based museums of the nineteenth century often signaled the arrival of science on campus, and their collections typically were based on the field work of faculty and the generosity of patrons. In many land grant institutions, the original sponsor was the state whose collections derived from state geological and natural history surveys. The Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota reflected that tradition and provided a particularly intense connection under the early leadership of Newton Horace Winchell, 1874-1889. As the faculty became more specialized at the growing institution, the collections were distributed and the zoological materials came under the administration of the Department of Animal Biology and the management of Henry Nachtrieb, 1890-1919; his specialized research on the physiology of freshwater fish marked a move away from the taxonomical approach that characterized the general museum. After 1919, under Thomas S. Roberts, the museum opened its doors much more widely to the public, building dioramas and moving to a new building in 1940 that would take the name of its major sponsor, becoming the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History (1969).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-72
Number of pages26
JournalMuseum History Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


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