L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum (est. 1918)


UW-Madison COVID-19 Update: Campus Visit Program Visits has Cancelled ALL tours from March 12 to April 12, 2020. Therefore the Physics Ingersoll Museum is closed until Aprl 12.



The Leonard R. Ingersoll Physics Museum was conceived by Professor Snow and Professor Ingersoll in 1917 and was fully established in 1918 when the construction of Sterling Hall was competed. The establishment of this museum, known at the time as the Historical museum, made it one of the first museums of its kind in the country that focused on physics. Following Professor Ingersoll's death in 1958, the physics department renamed the museum to Leonard R. Ingersoll Physics Museum to honor his dedication to the success of the historical museum. Keeping with tradition, all our exhibits are designed by the faculty and staff, then constructed by the departmental shops, staff, and students to give the visitor a hands-on experience of the physics concept and to put physics in the fingertips of the young.

The Ingersoll Physics Museum is free to public and runs on donations. Although no reservation is required to visit, we do schedule guided tours for groups. Our exhibits give our guests a hands-on experience of physical concepts ranging from mechanics to modern physics in a demonstrational kid-friendly environment. Our 1500sf museum consists of over 65 exhibits with some rotating in and out each year. In conjunction to our museum, you can find photos of the Nobel Prize Winners in Physics from 1901-1993, as well as many historical instruments on display along the corridors of Chamberlin Hall.


The physics museum is located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus on the second floor of Chamberlin Hall, at 1150 University Avenue. (The corner of University Ave. and Charter St.)  Map

Car Parking:

We recommend that you plan ahead for parking prior to your trip. There is no designated parking available while visiting the physics museum. Please see the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Visitor Parking webpage for on-campus parking options. Click here for campus visitor parking lot availability. Hourly parking is available in almost all parking lots, Lot 20 is the closest lot to Chamberlin Hall.

Bus Drop-off and Pick-up:

Active bus drop-off and pick-up is available Charter Street side of the Chamberlin Hall. Chamberlin Hall is located the corner University Avenue and Charter. No parking is permitted along Charter Street at any time. This includes Buses too. Violators will be ticketed.

Bus Parking:

Four bus parking spots are available in Lot 45, located at the southeast corner of Dayton Street and Mills Street. Three bus parking spots are available in front of the UW Stock Pavilion, located at 1675 Linden Drive. Buses can also wait for groups in Lot 130, located on University Bay Drive. Bus drivers must stay in the bus at this location.

Hours & Info:

The museum is a free public venue and is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. We are closed on weekends, legal holidays or when the physics department itself is closed. Please check the tour calendar for other closure dates and open houses.


Questions? Please contact Steve Narf at 608-262-3898.


©2013 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System