Dyche Hall Natural History Museum 1903-2003 By Carol Shankel and Barbara Watkins
The history of the Dyche building in black and white photos and words. Dyche Hall, one of the University of Kansas' most recognizable buildings, is the topic of this book by local authors Carol Shankel and Barbara Watkins, compilers of an earlier book on old Fraser Hall.
Dyche Hall: The University of Kansas Natural History Museum 1903-2003 was released to coincide with the centennial of the building's completion. Using historic and modern photographs and excerpts from period correspondence, newspaper and magazine stories, books, and other printed material, Shankel and Watkins tell the story of the building and the scientific work that has been carried out there.
The Kansas legislature allocated $75,000 to erect a building to house the Panorama of North American Mammals, plus other exhibits and the museum's burgeoning collection of research specimens, in 1901. The building was later named for Lewis Lindsay Dyche, an early 20th century explorer, scientist and taxidermist who was a museum curator and faculty member at KU. The Panorama, containing nature scenes from Alaska to Mexico, was mounted by Dyche for the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. After the world's fair, Dyche returned the exhibit to Kansas, and he and other university leaders urged the legislature to erect a building to house the Panorama at KU.
Today, Dyche Hall is one of four campus buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is widely admired for its elaborate stone ornamentation, depicting natural and fantastic animals and plants, a reflection of the work that is carried on in the building. The building has been enlarged twice: once in the 1960s with a wing to house growing research collections and laboratories and again in the 1990s, when a wing to safely house the museum's reptile, amphibian, fish, and bird specimens preserved in alcohol was added.
"Dyche Hall: The University of Kansas Natural History Museum 1903-2003" was published by the Historic Mount Oread Fund, a tax-exempt fund devoted to the preservation and conservation of significant buildings, sites and amenities at KU as well as promotion of an appreciation of historic spaces, places and events associated with the university. The fund was founded in 1981 and is administered in cooperation with the KU Endowment Association.