The museum was first envisioned by John Mielke, Roy Valitchka, and Jim Perry for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Fox Cities Campus (formerly UW-Fox Valley) and was officially opened to the public on November 16, 2002. During construction generous donations and assistance were provided by geologists Sally and Gene LaBerge, John Barlow, and Clyde Stephenson. The museum is named for Leonard and Donna Weis, who provided the founding financial gift to establish the museum and to endow the director’s position. Because the museum uniquely focuses on the geology of Wisconsin, former Governor Tommy Thompson designated the museum as the Official Mineralogical Museum of Wisconsin in 2000.
Since its opening, the museum has provided educational programming to tens of thousands of students from across the state and has hosted internationally recognized speakers and events, such as the Wonderful World of Agates Conference in 2008. Over the years, the museum collections have grown as the result of further donations and support from members of the Fox Cities community. The museum looks to continue this growth going forward, providing unique educational experiences for the public to enjoy for decades to come.
Find out more about the Katherine Greacen Nelson award, the Donna Nolte Inspiration award and the outstanding recipients.
The mission of the Weis Earth Science Museum is to preserve and promote the unique geologic heritage of Wisconsin and to underscore the importance of earth science to society. It fulfills this purpose through education, research, and through the collection, conservation, and display of minerals, rocks, fossils, and historical objects depicting the physical and historical geology of Wisconsin and its mining heritage, as well as the broader geologic framework for which it exists. As the official Mineralogical Museum of Wisconsin, the Weis Earth Science Museum provides an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of minerals and their role in society. Through exhibits and other educational programming, the Weis Earth Science Museum aims to make earth science exciting, relevant, and accessible to all citizens of this state.