The museum has a long, rich history here on campus at Benedictine University. Beginning as a teaching collection for the Natural Sciences Division of St. Procopius College in the 1920’s, the collection stemmed from the life’s work of Frs. Hilary and Edmund Jurica, O.S.B. After over 50 years of growing this unique hands-on teaching resource for their students, it was decided to open a museum and allow the public to also learn from this remarkable collection. When Scholl Science Center opened, a display area was created and the Jurica Nature Museum was dedicated on November 18, 1971.
The museum grew significantly over the next 41 years, as Fr. Theodore Suchy, O.S.B. took over the Jurica’s work and dedicated his energy to enhancing their foundation. The museum was moved into the Birck Hall of Science in 2000, and reopened in 2001 with brand new exhibits from taxidermist and exhibit designer Mr. Ernst Gramatski, and expanded educational programs from Mrs. Mary Mickus. Many others from the Benedictine community also assisted in the growth of the museum, including Dr. Larry Kamin, Dr. Al Martin, Dr. Monica Tischler, Thomas McAtee, David Hanke, and others, as well as numerous undergraduate students who assisted in the efforts. In 2009, the museum was rededicated as the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum to honor Fr. Ted’s contributions and guidance.
In 2019, the museum served over 23,000 patrons through the many educational tours, programs, and outreach events. With many research opportunities for students and scholars, the museum continues its work as a hub of natural science exploration.
Although the museum remains closed at this time, we look forward to reopening to the public again in the near future. We continue to serve our community through new virtual resources. Please check the website for details at ben.edu/museum, as well as our Facebook and Instagram @JSNMatBU.
More information will be posted on events for this coming fall that highlight and honor this momentous milestone of the museum’s 50th anniversary!