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Minnesota's US$79.2m Bell Museum redevelopment to open this month
POSTED 03 Jul 2018 . BY Megan Whitby
Minnesota’s new Bell Museum is set to reopen its doors to the public following a landmark US$79.2m (€68.2m, £60.4m) renovation.

The Bell, previously known as the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History, has been Minnesota’s official nature museum since 1872.

According to the museum's science director, George Weiblen the Bell was aiming to transform how people experience museums.

"Museums used to put nature in a box but instead this museum immerses the visitor in nature," he said, speaking to The Star Tribune.

An exciting product of the refurbishment is a new state-of-the-art planetarium, which will be the first of its kind in North America. Designed to be a seamless experience, the planetarium will immerse visitors, with graphics ranging from the depths of the cosmos to the inner workings of the human brain.

The museum will additionally feature updated exhibit galleries, with a range of dioramas depicting full-scale natural scenes varying from mammoths and wolves to polar bears.



Curators have also developed the ‘Touch & See Lab’ – a space where all ages can actively learn through observation and sensory engagement with a range of objects, including some small live animals.

Having undergone a 30 per cent increase in size since the renovation, the museum has expanded into its outdoor areas. Called the "Learning Landscape", a second-floor green roof and observation deck is open to the public, while the ground floor also features sustainable landscaping with native plants, a geology exploration area, and a solar station.

The Minnesota Legislature has provided US$51.5m (€44.3m, £39.3m) towards the US$64.2m (€55.1m, £48.8m) construction and landscaping costs, with a further US$6.7m (€5.8m, £5.1m) contributed by the university and US$6m (€5.2m, £4.6m) coming from private donations.

The museum also requested a further US$15m (€12.9m, £11.4m) for programme support, future endowment, technology upgrades, a 1,500sq ft (139sq m) expansion for temporary exhibition galleries and outdoor learning centres.

Based on the campus of the University of Minnesota, the museum has been closed since January 2017 and hopes to triple its annual visitor intake following the refurbishment. Local architects Perkins+Will designed the museum, while Minneapolis contractors McGough were in charge of construction.

The Bell Museum and its designers hope that the development will "bring together science, art, and the environment with a unique Minnesota perspective".
The museum will additionally feature updated exhibit galleries with a range of dioramas Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
Curators have also developed the "Touch & See Lab" Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
The museum has undergone a 30 per cent increase in size since the renovation Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
Designed to be a seamless experience, the planetarium will immerse visitors with graphics depicting the cosmos Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
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NEWS
Minnesota's US$79.2m Bell Museum redevelopment to open this month
POSTED 03 Jul 2018 . BY Megan Whitby
Minnesota’s new Bell Museum is set to reopen its doors to the public following a landmark US$79.2m (€68.2m, £60.4m) renovation.

The Bell, previously known as the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History, has been Minnesota’s official nature museum since 1872.

According to the museum's science director, George Weiblen the Bell was aiming to transform how people experience museums.

"Museums used to put nature in a box but instead this museum immerses the visitor in nature," he said, speaking to The Star Tribune.

An exciting product of the refurbishment is a new state-of-the-art planetarium, which will be the first of its kind in North America. Designed to be a seamless experience, the planetarium will immerse visitors, with graphics ranging from the depths of the cosmos to the inner workings of the human brain.

The museum will additionally feature updated exhibit galleries, with a range of dioramas depicting full-scale natural scenes varying from mammoths and wolves to polar bears.



Curators have also developed the ‘Touch & See Lab’ – a space where all ages can actively learn through observation and sensory engagement with a range of objects, including some small live animals.

Having undergone a 30 per cent increase in size since the renovation, the museum has expanded into its outdoor areas. Called the "Learning Landscape", a second-floor green roof and observation deck is open to the public, while the ground floor also features sustainable landscaping with native plants, a geology exploration area, and a solar station.

The Minnesota Legislature has provided US$51.5m (€44.3m, £39.3m) towards the US$64.2m (€55.1m, £48.8m) construction and landscaping costs, with a further US$6.7m (€5.8m, £5.1m) contributed by the university and US$6m (€5.2m, £4.6m) coming from private donations.

The museum also requested a further US$15m (€12.9m, £11.4m) for programme support, future endowment, technology upgrades, a 1,500sq ft (139sq m) expansion for temporary exhibition galleries and outdoor learning centres.

Based on the campus of the University of Minnesota, the museum has been closed since January 2017 and hopes to triple its annual visitor intake following the refurbishment. Local architects Perkins+Will designed the museum, while Minneapolis contractors McGough were in charge of construction.

The Bell Museum and its designers hope that the development will "bring together science, art, and the environment with a unique Minnesota perspective".
The museum will additionally feature updated exhibit galleries with a range of dioramas Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
Curators have also developed the "Touch & See Lab" Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
The museum has undergone a 30 per cent increase in size since the renovation Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
Designed to be a seamless experience, the planetarium will immerse visitors with graphics depicting the cosmos Credit: Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
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The Science Museum Group has opened a new training and education facility as part of its Science Museum Group Academy arm at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum.
Heatherwick Studio's latticework "Vessel" finally opens to the public
The tentatively named "Vessel" sculpture – arguably the most recognisable landmark in the entire Hudson Yards Development – has opened its doors.
Former Guggenheim director Thomas Krens has ambitious multi-museum plans for Massachusetts city
Thomas Krens, the former director of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, has detailed his ambitious plans for North Adams, Massachusetts, which centre around a railway museum.
Proposed new Melbourne water park would be southern hemisphere’s largest
A new AU$100m (US$70.87m, €62.6m, £53.39m) indoor waterpark in Melbourne, Australia, will be the largest such park in the southern hemisphere upon completion, according to the partners behind the project.
+ More news   
LATEST JOBS
Attraction Manager - Conwy
Welsh Water
Salary: £39,966 - £46,960
Job location: Conwy, UK
Attraction Manager - Powys
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Salary: £39,966 - £46,960
Job location: Rhayader, UK
Attraction Manager - Pontypool
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Salary: £39,966 - £46,960
Job location: Pontypool, UK
Visitor Experience Manager - Powys
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Salary: £32,392 - £37,027
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Visitor Experience Manager - Torfaen
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Salary: £32,392 - £37,027
Job location: Torfaen, UK
Visitor Experience Manager - Conwy
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Salary: £32,392 - £37,027
Job location: Conwy, UK
+ More jobs  
 


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Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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