Bell Museum closing December 31 to prep for St. Paul move

December 20, 2016
Bell Museum in Autumn

What: Bell Museum of Natural History - Final Two Weeks
Where: Bell Museum, 10 Church Street SE, Minneapolis
When: Extended Hours December 26-31, 2016. 9 am - 7 pm, visit bellmuseum.umn.edu for details.

After more than 75 years, the Bell Museum of Natural History is set to close its public galleries on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota. The museum is open every day in December, except 12/24-25, with extended hours December 26-31 (9 am – 7 pm). December 31, 2016, is the last day for visitors to experience the classic museum.

Beginning in January 2017, the museum's exhibits will undergo preparations to move to its new home on the university’s St. Paul campus at the corner of Larpenteur and Cleveland Avenues. Opening in summer 2018, the new facility will showcase exhibits taking visitors from the Big Bang to Minnesota’s current biomes, return a public planetarium to Minnesota, ensure public access to University of Minnesota research, and ignite informed conversations on science topics.

“We are incredibly grateful to the State of Minnesota, the university, and generations of Minnesotans for their continuing support of this institution,” said Denise Young, the museum’s executive director. “We are proud stewards of the state’s natural history museum and planetarium, and committed to delivering a more accessible and inspiring community destination in 2018.”

A large portion of the roughly 18-month closure is allotted for the preservation and move of the museum’s world-renowned wildlife dioramas. A team of national experts will lead the careful restoration, move, and installation work. Relocated and reinterpreted dioramas created by Francis Lee Jaques, Walter Breckenridge, and John Jarosz are central to the permanent galleries in the new museum, taking visitors on a journey to discover the connections that tie together people, nature and the environment.

In addition to extra staff and walk-in activities in the final week at the Minneapolis location, the museum invites visitors to share their memories made over the years and bid “Bon Voyage” to the exhibits. Also, a commemorative "Lights Out" ceremony will be held at the final closing time on December 31. The museum staff looks forward to delivering special outreach programs, school visits, and their popular science discovery summer camps over the closure period.

Select images are available for download via Google Drive.

About the Bell Museum
The Bell Museum is Minnesota’s state natural history museum, founded in 1872.  Our mission is to ignite curiosity and wonder, explore our connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world. The museum is part of the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. 

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