Cable Natural History Museum


Our one-story building integrates the environment, architecture, and landscaping to create a functional and educational structure. The building appears to rise up out of the earth, with the roof imitating the tree canopy. The facility houses collections and exhibits, an educational classroom, administrative offices, storage areas and the Museum Shop. Enjoy!

Green Features

Geothermal Energy
The building’s internal environmental controls feature an ultra-efficient geothermal system, taking advantage of constant temperatures deep in the earth to help heat in the winter and cool in the summer.

The Museum is very proud to say that very little of the old building was taken to the land fill. When removed, many of the original building materials were salvaged and are being reused in the new building or in other projects around the region.

Orientation (Passive Solar) Building design and placement of windows make use of sunlight for day lighting, space heating and/or space cooling.

Earthen Berms are insulating our building and keeping exterior maintenance low.

Low E energy efficient windows (E is short for emittance) contain an invisible metal coating that sandwiches between the layers of glazing, causing the glass to be reflective. They keep our building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

T8 light fixtures and bulbs replace HIDs one for one for a 50% energy savings, creating more savings with lighting controls and retain lumen output 90% over life of the lamps.

Low VOC Paint (Semi-Gloss) The use of low-VOC paint reduces toxins that cause allergy and chemical sensitivities, reduces contaminant concentrations in landfill, groundwater and the ozone, provides easy cleanup with soap and water and produces lower odor.

Additionally, we have incorporated Energy Star appliances, solar-powered faucets, dual-level and motion sensor lighting controls, among many other energy saving components.


Log Community House – Home to the Forest Lodge Library

recent exteriorThe Forest Lodge Library building is owned by the Cable Natural History Musuem.  It  was built in 1925 by Mary Livingston Griggs to honor her mother, Mary Steele Livingston. The logs used to construct the building were logged off their family property at Forest Lodge on Lake Namakagon. The building was originally designed to be a Community Room, a ladies reading room and a public rest room.



CommunityRoomCable1925historical log community house




 Jackson Burke House


Jackson Burke

The Museum’s Jackson Burke House on Lake Namakagon is used by the Cable Natural History Museum to house interns, guests, and special visitors; it also provides space for retreats and small group meetings.

The 2,400-square-foot structure is named after Jackson Burke, the late husband of Mary Griggs Burke, whose family has a long history in the Cable area. In 1967, the Burkes decided to honor the memory of Mary’s mother, Mary Livingston Griggs, by establishing the Cable Natural History Museum. Jackson Burke served on the Museum’s first board of directors.

Design and construction of the building was made possible through a grant from the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation of St. Paul, Minnesota. Construction of the facility was completed in the summer of 2001. The Jackson Burke House replaces a 70-year-old,1,000-square-foot cottage that was removed from the site in the summer of 2000.

The Jackson Burke House, set back 125 feet from the Lake Namakagon shoreline, overlooks the lake and surrounding forest. The two-story structure features four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a large shared commons area, kitchen, and a full basement.


Nestel Property – Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area

the stone family (so cute!) (36)

The Nestel Property is located on the southern edge of the town of Cable, just a half-mile from the Museum. This 13-acre site has special significance to the Museum because it was once the home of Lois Nestel, a well-known local naturalist and the first director of the Cable Natural History Museum. The Museum acquired the property in 2000 and has preserved its natural state.

Much of the site is heavily wooded, featuring mature white cedar, birch, hemlock and white pine trees. A one-mile trail winds through the woods and provides outdoor opportunities for hikers and snowshoers of all ages. The snowshoe trails are un-groomed.

The Nestel Property is used year-round for outdoor Museum programs, especially those for children and families. It is also home to the Wayside Wanderings Natural Play Area featuring several Natural Play Features encouraging children to climb, explore and connect to nature. View map.



Forest Lodge Nature Trail

Forest Lodge Nature Trail

Forest Lodge Nature Trail

The Cable Natural History Museum established the Forest Lodge Nature Trail in 1968. Located about nine miles east of Cable, the Forest Lodge Nature Trail offers hikers and snowshoers a 1.5-mile and a 3-mile loop through woods, bog and fields. The snowshoe trails are un-groomed. Along the trail are superb examples of many unique natural features of the north woods, including glacial erratics, old-growth white pine trees, carnivorous bog-dwelling pitcher plants, and a wide variety of wildflowers, birds and other wildlife.

In 1999, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest acquired the property that the trail is on as a generous gift from Mary Griggs Burke, a local resident and founder of the Cable Natural History Museum. The Museum and the Forest Service share the goals of education, research and interpretive opportunities for the public, and work together to preserve and manage the Forest Lodge Nature Trail.

Stop by the Museum and pick up a free interpretive booklet that will help guide and inform your hike on the Forest Lodge Nature Trail.

View a digital field guide for the trail here.