Video: Drawing in the Natural History Museum

Student drawing and armadillo in the Richter Museum

UW-Green Bay’s Richter Museum of Natural History collections are available for artistic as well as scientific research. The natural forms make excellent subjects for drawing students.


“If someone asks you what natural history museums have to do with art, you probably think of cave paintings and other prehistoric artifacts, right? It’s true. One of the things natural history museums do is house and interpret prehistoric art, but here at the Richter, even contemporary artists can make use of all the museum has to offer.

‘I’ve been using the Richter Museum collection to bring my intro drawing students in to draw because it’s a wonderful resource on campus and they love doing it,’ says Christine Style. ‘There is a great variety skulls and birds and all sorts of animals. The textures — when we’re study texture. It’s great for all the textures — the fur, the feathers, the beaks, the skull. The foreshortening and getting things in perspective. There’s all sorts of ways that you can think about using the the forms there for drawing. And they sit still!’

Having someone there to help guide you through the collection [is] nice. Any student can go there and use it. And I know there’s a lot more to draw there than what I bring my students to. You pull out a drawer and see hundreds and hundreds of eggs and nests and all sorts of things. It’s really nice to see that variety and so much of it. Next semester I’ll be doing intermediate drawing and I’ll be bringing those students down there to use it, probably even a little bit more. I think it’s a great resource and I’m glad it’s promoting itself and I’m happy to promote it.'”

This is the first of the Richter Museum’s new video series, Carl’s Collections, named after museum namesake Carl Richter. Richter, a former resident of Oconto, Wis., and one of the state’s most prominent ornithologists donated a collection of eggs that is one of the 10 largest oological (egg) collections in North America.

The Richter Museum is primary a research museum and is usually not open to the general public. The museum display hallway and the “Gathering Room” across from the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity offices feature specimens from the museum and herbarium collections and are open anytime Mary Ann Cofrin Hall is open. The curators also conduct a number of tours for groups, such as college and K-12 classes, naturalists, teachers, Learning in Retirement, civic clubs etc. If you would like to arrange a tour of the museum for your class or group please contact Curator Dan Meinhardt at the address below for more information.

Daniel Meinhardt, Richter Museum Curator
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Dept. of Natural and Applied Sciences
Green Bay, WI 54311
(920)465-2398 /

Video by Curator Dan Meinhardt

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