Jurica-Suchy explored by museum professionals from all over Illinois

Jurica-Suchy explored by museum professionals from all over Illinois
November 17, 2010

Phil Brozynski
(630) 829-6094

Museum Association visit to Jurica 063

Lisle, Illinois ~ "I can't believe a polar bear is that big!"

"This place is wonderful."

"Is that really a whale skeleton?"

Staff members at the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum on the second floor of the Birck Hall of Science at Benedictine University are used to hearing those kinds of reactions from many of the young elementary students from the western suburbs who visit the museum to learn more about the environment and the animals who inhabit it.

But the reactions above came from museum curators, trustees, designers, managers, recruiters, grant writers and fundraisers.

The Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum was visited by more than 90 members of the Illinois Association of Museums during their annual conference, "The Magic of Place," held at the Holiday Inn Select in Naperville November 3-5.

The museum was one of several stops made by the museum professionals, who also toured the Museums of Lisle Station Park, the Morton Arboretum and Naper Settlement.

"We were met with many bright-eyed, enthusiastic responses from people representing museums all over Illinois," said Joni Marin, education coordinator at the Jurica-Suchy Museum and adjunct professor in the Department of Biology.

The Jurica Nature Museum features thousands of specimens and a number of special exhibits including an African savanna, a recently renovated Illinois Prairie display and a cast of the head of Stan, a tyrannosaurus rex.

The museum represents the efforts of the late Fr. Hilary Jurica, O.S.B., and his late brother, Fr. Edmund Jurica, O.S.B., who collected specimens for their students to study during their combined century of teaching, and Fr. Theodore Suchy, O.S.B., the museum's curator for the past 30 years.

"Conference attendees were still talking about the museum the next day at the conference," Marin said. "This event gave us a little reminder about the jewel that we have here on our campus, a jewel we should never take for granted."

The museum is opened to the public free of charge. Hours are: September 1-May 15, Monday-Friday from 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., and Sunday from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., and May 16-July 31, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. The museum is closed during the month of August for cleaning and maintenance.

The museum hosts more than 6,000 visitors annually including many students from neighboring elementary schools and junior highs.

For more information about the museum, visit http://www1.ben.edu/museum/index.asp or call (630) 829-6546.


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 53 undergraduate majors, 13 graduate and four doctorate programs. Benedictine University is ranked as a Top School in the Midwest (11th in Illinois) for Master's Universities, 12th in the Midwest (and sixth in Illinois) for Racial Diversity, and eighth in Illinois for Freshmen Retention for 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.