Please realize that our museum is totally unstaffed all the time and is set up as a self-paced exploration of our exhibits. Also please be aware that there are close circuit security cameras within the room to let us know when a tour group has arrived. Feel free to schedule your group tour via the Museum Tour Request Form and don’t forget to send us your comments and suggestions -Thank you!
The museum is typically open Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm. We are closed on legal holidays, weekends, or when the physics department itself is closed. Please refer to our tour calendar for closures and open house weekends.
Groups and individuals are more then welcome to visit the museum at any time without scheduling for a tour guide. However, please notify us if your walk-in group is larger than 10 and always check our tour calendar to find a free time for your visit. This way you are not overwhelmed if there happens to be a scheduled tour at that time.
The docent (ie. tour guide) program was established in 2007 as a paid program for students to gain experience in teaching younger kids the concepts of physics by demonstration. All docents have at least a basic physics background and/or are physics majors. We try very hard to schedule one docent per group of 10-15 kids, unfortunately this is not always possible. With all our efforts in scheduling a docent(s) for each tour; there are rare times where the whole docent staff may be unavailable due to classes and/or exams. Please remember that they are students and their course work comes first. Each docent determines their availability for each tour request that comes in and schedules themselves for whichever tours they can fit into their schedule.
Please try to schedule your tour at least one week before your desired date. This will give us a better chance of getting a Student Docent scheduled for your group. Always check our tour calendar for any changes to available dates and/or times. When scheduling a group tour, please try to reserve one hour for a guided tour. An hour tour usually consists of about 2o minutes of tutorials of a few exhibits within the museum. The rest of the time is set aside for “free play & self discovery”. Of course, your tour duration can vary depending on your time constraints, buses, or venue changes. With over 65 exhibits, kids can often find plenty to do within our museum to keep them engaged for well over an hour. If you are jumping to another UW venue, please budget about 10 minutes to get to your next appointment.
Large groups of 50 or more will require special accommodations. We “strongly” suggest that these large groups are broken into 2 or more smaller groups with a max of 20 or 40 kids each, for back-to-back tour time slots. All we can suggest is have the other group(s) visit other UW campus venues to visit in the interim, like the geology museum.
For large groups visiting the museum that can not be broken due to time constraints or other factors; A self-guided tour maybe the best we can do. Please note that our museum can only hold up to 100 kids at any one time. Of course, we’ll do our best to schedule at least one docent for these large tours to give you the best experience we can.
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 and or towed.
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.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Cierra Atkinson (Outreach Specialist)
Steve Narf (Lecture Demonstration)