Bell Museum’s Mammoth Grand Opening Weekend July 13-15, 2018

June 6, 2018
  • Mammoth closeup
  • Touch See Lab
  • West view of Bell Museum
  • Main entrance of Bell Museum
  • South view of Bell Museum

Images available for download below. 

The Bell Museum has a mammoth-sized grand opening weekend set for July 13-15, 2018. The weekend is made possible by co-presenting sponsors General Mills and McGough Construction, as well as Boston Scientific, Perkins+Will and 3M. All events will be zero waste thanks to our partners in University of Minnesota recycling. 

The Bell’s grand opening weekend kicks off Friday, July 13 with an after-hours party featuring St. Paul singer/songwriter Ashley DuBose, DIY art and sketching, planetarium previews, telescope observing, food trucks, and more. Saturday and Sunday will feature extended hours, science demos, make-your-own mini-dioramas, water-rocket launching, and Dark Matter, the Bell’s custom ice cream made by the U of M’s Food Science and Nutrition department. Jade from The Current will DJ the event thanks to a media partnership with Minnesota Public Radio. Additional free events will be available outside in the museum’s Learning Landscape, Saturday from 9am-6pm.

Tickets for the Friday night party ($40) as well as gallery admissions and planetarium show tickets for Saturday and Sunday (prices vary) are available for purchase starting June 7 at 10 AM CDT. Details at bellmuseum.umn.edu.

The museum has spent nearly three years building a 21st-century facility, restoring world-famous exhibits, and developing all new displays and programs. Premiering along with the museum’s opening is Minnesota in the Cosmos, the first original production in the newly minted Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium, which tells the geological story of Minnesota. The 120-seat digital planetarium is the first of its kind in the world, using the latest innovations to create a “seamless” dome projection surface.

All new exhibition spaces cover broad scientific concepts from cellular to cosmic levels, inviting visitors to explore our place in space and time. A thrilling new addition to the permanent exhibits and nod to the museum’s legacy as a home to some of the finest wildlife dioramas in the world is the Pleistocene Minnesota diorama. The ice age view of the state features a 24-foot high glacier, full-scale woolly mammoth, and other Minnesota megafauna. Inside the glacier is a theater in which will debut a new documentary by famed Minnesota photographer and filmmaker Jim Brandenburg: Images of Home: Jim Brandenburg’s Minnesota.

Bell Museum mainstays like Francis Lee Jaques dioramas and Touch & See Lab will be back and better than ever. The Touch & See Lab, the first natural history discovery room in the world, is celebrating 50 years of active learning and sensory engagement in a revitalized space that nestles live insects, reptiles and other animals with all new hands-on activities, a live plant wall, and Collections Cove which houses an extensive educational collection of over 4,000 specimens.

The Bell Museum strives to make its facility and events accessible to all. Audio description, ASL interpretation, or other accommodations can be arranged with a two-week notice. For additional information or to request an accommodation, please contact the accessibility office at 612-624-4268 or crfrey@umn.edu.

For general information, call 612-626-9660 or visit bellmuseum.umn.edu.

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About the Bell Museum

The Bell Museum is Minnesota’s official natural history museum, founded in 1872 and held in trust at the University of Minnesota. A proud part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, 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. For details, visit bellmuseum.umn.edu or find @bellmuseum on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Image Downloads

Renderings and other images are available for download via Google Drive: z.umn.edu/grandopening

Media Contacts

24-hour line
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(612) 293-0831
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U News main line
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(612) 624-5551
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Lacey Nygard
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News Service
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Andria Waclawski
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Bell Museum
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612-624-7389
Email: 
andria@umn.edu