Ruthven Museums Facade Bas Reliefs

Carleton Watson Angell
1928; Limestone; Architectural Feature
Central Campus; West, east and north facades of the Museums Building

In the third floor spandrels there are bas reliefs representing pioneer American naturalists—Thomas Say, Daniel Brinton, John Wesley Powell, Asa Gray, Joseph Leidy and Louis Agassiz. There are also reliefs of the first three directors of the U-M Museums—Abram Sager, Alexander Winchell and Joseph Beal Steere—as well as many reliefs representing zoological figures. This famous quote from the renowned naturalist Louis Agassiz is etched in the parapet: “Go to nature; take the facts into your own hands; look, and see for yourself.” An artist at the museum for 30 years, Angell designed plaster casts to be used in exhibit cases. He was also the sculptor of the bronze doors and the two pumas which flank the entrance.