Re-creation of the glass invertebrate models for teaching at UW–Madison

UW–Madison’s Zoological Museum was established at the very first UW Board of Regents meeting in 1848. After the first Science Hall burned, Edward A. Birge — professor of zoology, later UW–Madison president — started purchasing specimens to replace ones lost in the fire, including a collection of glass invertebrate models created by German glassblowers Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka. The Blaschka models, purchased in 1890, were originally used for teaching, but are now considered works of art that cannot be exhibited and handled due to their delicate construction and weakened condition. 175th anniversary funding will support Tim Drier, a professional scientific and artistic glassblower with 40 years of experience, to work at UW–Madison for one week to apply his glassblowing expertise to this project. Tim and UW colleagues will create glass models of species not currently represented in the museum collections that are stable enough for teaching and display.

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