Wesleyan Joe Webb Peoples Museum of Natural History

Our natural history collections are amongst the oldest university collections in the country, with some dating back to the 1820s, i.e. predating the establishment of Wesleyan University in 1831. In 1871, a museum was built to house these valuable collections: Orange Judd donated 100,000 dollars for the construction of the Judd Hall of Natural Sciences, and further donated a series of over 900 replicas of world’s famous fossils (Ward’s casts) to grace the new museum hall.  This museum was closed in 1957, and the hall was dismantled and replaced by laboratories, due to the dwindling interest in natural history. Since 2017, we have been restoring and exhibiting these remarkable specimens after over 60 years in storage, during which time most people on campus have forgotten their existence.