The Department of History May Be Getting a New Home (With Your Help)!

Front view - Mosse Humanities Bldg
Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison

The Department of History, currently housed in the George L. Mosse Humanities Building, may be getting a new home! To those who have taken classes in the building, it will come as no surprise that the structure is in dire condition. The university is now working to secure state support for a new L&S Academic Building to better serve the needs of a growing undergraduate population.

As one of the campus’ most used buildings and a primary home for many courses in the College of Letters & Science (the largest of UW-Madison’s 13 schools and colleges), Mosse Humanities has been a regular fixture on the UW-Madison campus since it was constructed in the 1960s. More than 70,000 credits were taught in its classrooms last year, covering 60 different departments and thousands of students. The coursework taken in its classrooms are the foundation for a wide range of UW majors, from History to Computer Science, to Engineering and Business.

If you are one of the many Badgers to pass through the College of Letters and Science since 1966, you probably have experienced the difficulties of trying to learn while in the Humanities Building. Water damage is widespread. Concrete is degrading. Reinforced steel is exposed and rusting. Windows are leaking. Handrails do not comply with current code requirements. Classrooms have minimal AV support and limited options for active learning.

A new building will provide a much-needed reinvestment in state-of-the-art learning spaces for UW students and faculty. A budget proposal is underway to build a new L&S Academic Building at the corner of Johnson and Park Streets with 1,800 seats in 19 new classrooms; classrooms that will support active learning, modern technology, and collaborative work.

What you can do to advocate for a new L&S Academic Building:

There are two ways alumni and supporters of the History Department can support the effort for a new L&S Academic Building:

  1. Contact your state legislators! Find your elected official at “Who is My Legislator?”
  2. Testify at a budget hearing/submit comments to the Joint Finance Committee
    • Wednesday, April 21, 2021 The Hodag Dome, Rhinelander, WI
    • Thursday, April 22, 2021 UW-Stout, Menomonie, WI
    • Wednesday, April 28, 2021 Virtual

The public hearings will begin at 10:00am and conclude at 5:00pm. When your name is called, it is your turn to speak and you will testify before the committee. Those testifying will have 2 minutes to speak. Participants should expect a mask requirement. Those wishing to testify at the virtual hearing will be required to register in advance, details to come on the registration process.

If you are unable to attend a JFC public hearing, but still wish to provide comments, a portal is available for individuals to provide input: as well as an email address .

Tips for participants:

  • Use the talking points handout (pdf) provided by State Relations
  • Be concise in your comments and focus on one ask
  • Write down your testimony to submit to the committee after you testify (
  • Make your comments personal, share personal connections and stories, talk about how UW-Madison has made an impact on your life and career

Together we can build a new home for UW-Madison History!