Relief Map Restoration Project

Relief MapThe Relief Map Restoration Project at Science Hall needs your support.

The Department of Geography asks for your support of the Science Hall Relief Map Restoration Project by contributing $1000 to cover the restoration expenses for one plaster relief map. Donors can choose to contribute $500 for shared support of a single map, or can choose to support several maps. Finished maps will be reinstalled with a plaque honoring the donor.


The Robinson Map Library has placed one restored map on permanent exhibit. The exhibit features more detailed historical cartographic information with special lighting. To accompany the permanent exhibit, we plan to create a full-color brochure and walking-tour guide for all the relief maps of Science Hall.

All donors may also contribute to this permanent exhibit and brochure fund (see M-90 and M-91).

About the Maps

Relief MapOf the 18 relief maps of Science Hall, six were created by UW geologists between 1909 and 1939. The oldest plaster relief map is the 1894 model of the Chattanooga District by Edwin E. Howell, a geologist who took part in USGS Wheeler Surveys west of the 100th meridian in 1872-1873. Science Hall has four plaster relief maps created by Howell alone and several others that list him as preparator.

"These maps are irreplaceable, " said Onno Brouwer, Director of the Cartography Lab. He noted that the maps have been a cultural touchstone for generations of Science Hall students and faculty and are a major part of the legacy and architecture of Science Hall.

For a detailed history of the UW-Madison's Relief Map collection, see this Wisconsin Public Television lecture by alumna Melanie McCalmont (MS '06) - Relief Maps at the University of Wisconsin

How to Donate

Donate online at the UW Foundation website. You can add the Map Number you wish to support after the fund info ["Dept of Geography - Relief Map Restoration (1241146)"] in the text box.

You may also mail your donation to the UW Foundation. The following notation will insure that your donation goes to appropriate fund: Department of Geography-Fund 1241146.

UW Foundation
US Bank Lockbox
PO Box 78808
Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807