Statement of Significance (as of designation - November 4, 1993):
Amateur naturalists played a crucial role in the development of 19th-century science by assembling extensive collections of natural history specimens. From 1878 to 1894, Thomas A. Greene assembled a comprehensive collection of minerals from around the world, as well as an unparalled collection of fossils from the classic ancient reefs of the Milwaukee-Chicago, stimulating further research on these structures by eminent geologists of the day and providing abundant material for future paleontological research. The entirecollection was originally donated to Milwaukee-Downer College, a women's college, where Greene's heirs built a fireproof museum building to house it in 1913. The museum, along with the rest of the campus, was later sold to the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.