The Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum is a small natural history museum located on the second floor of the Michael and Kay Birck Hall of Science at Benedictine University. The museum represents the work of Fr. Hilary Jurica, O.S.B. and his brother, Fr. Edmund Jurica, O.S.B. who collected specimens for their students to use during their almost 100 combined years of teaching at Benedictine University. In the early 1970's, the Museum was placed in the hands of Fr. Theodore Suchy, O.S.B. who turned their collection of specimens into a thriving nature museum. Fr. Ted continued collecting and the collection grew to over 10,000 specimens, ranging from a tiny aphid to a whale skeleton. In the 1990's, Mrs. Mary Mickus created the educational outreach programs and the Discovery Box Loan Program. These outreach programs have now grown to serve over 11,000 local school children annually. Today, the museum is overseen by director Karly Tumminello and educationa coordinator Laura Hall. The museum serves over 20,000 patrons annually.
The Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum is open to the public as well as to school groups to enjoy and learn from the life's work of these three dedicated Monks. To learn more about the history of the museum and Frs. Edmund, Hilary and Theodore, visit the History of the College of Science website.
The museum currently has over 3,500 specimens on display!
The museum was awarded a $50,000 Inspire grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This grant will support the Saving Our Specimens (S.O.S) digitization project. The grant funds will be used to hire a museum Collections Manager, image and digitize the research collection of fossil and egg specimens, and purchase new storage units for these specimens. The museum will be creating a database and a new data portal to increase access to the collection and make these research collections available to scientists worldwide. In addition, this grant will allow the museum to properly care for and upgrade storage of the Jurica Biology Chart collection. A major focus of this grant is to provide training in museum preventative conservation practices to BenU undergraduate students and interns. The grant will support the S.O.S. project for 2 years, and will culminate as part of the museum's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2021!
Our Education Coordinator, Laura Hall, has been named the Environmental Educator of the Year! Laura received this honor from the Environmental Education Association of Illinois. For more information about this award, please see the EEAI website at: http://www.eeai.net/awards.html
The Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum is honored to have been named the Small Institution of the Year for 2016 from the Illinois Association of Museums!
In addition, the museum also received an Award of Excellence for the Discovery Box Loan Program, a free program that serves over 11,000 local students and educators annually. We also received an Award of Excellence for the Discovery Days Education and Outreach Program Series, our new free program series with the goal of highlighting native plants and animals while connecting people with nature through fun, hands-on programs.
We want to take a moment to thank all of our generous donors who continue to support our efforts. These programs are donor supported, and your generosity allows us to offer all of our programs and services free to the community! We could not do this work without you. Thank you!
If you would like to make a contribution to the museum to support our ongoing S.T.E.M. and life science programs, please contact us at JuricaSuchyMuseum@ben.edu or call (630) 829-6531. Thank you for your support!
The museum has been a part of the Little Free Library movement since 2014. The Little Free Library is a "take a book, return a book" free book exchange program. There are over 36,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide.
The museum sponsors a library rack stocked with environmental/nature focused books for all ages. The library is conveniently located in the hallway just outside the main entrance to the museum, and is therefore accessible to the public during all University open hours.
If you would like to make a book donation of new or lightly used, nature-themed literature, please call (630) 829-6531 or drop them off at the museum front desk. We would appreciate the help in keeping our Little Free Library well-stocked!
Please see the Visit the Museum page for details.
Please note: all guided group tours (including daycare, school, homeschool, senior, artist, or other) need to request a tour visit with the Education Coordinator in advance. Please see our Visit the Museum page for more details!
Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum
Birck Hall of Science, Room 222
5700 College Road
Lisle, IL 60532
Birck Hall, Room 229
Birck Hall, Room 229