Team Selected to Design New Bell Museum and Planetarium

The University of Minnesota has selected the team that will lead the design of a new Bell Museum and Planetarium. Serving as lead architect on the project is the Minneapolis office of international architectural firm Perkins+Will. Washington D.C.-based Gallagher and Associates will contribute museum planning and design expertise, and Salt Lake City-based Evans and Sutherland will assist with designing the digital planetarium. Michaud Cooley Erickson of Minneapolis will provide engineering services.

“We are thrilled to have such a high quality team working on this important project,” said Suzanne Smith, assistant vice president for capital planning at the University. “We are confident this team will create an amazing museum and planetarium that will serve Minnesotans for decades to come.”

The $57.5 million project will built on the southwest corner of Larpenteur and Cleveland in Falcon Heights on the edge of the University’s St. Paul campus. The facility will house Minnesota’s state natural history museum and planetarium. The 2014 Minnesota Legislature provided the majority of funds for the project. The tentative project schedule calls for a groundbreaking in the summer of 2016 and the facility opening in the summer of 2018.

“Our goal is to inspire and empower visitors to continue their journey of discovery,” said Susan Weller, director of the Bell Museum. “This team offers a rare combination of international museum and planetarium expertise that will bring a unique visitor experience to Minnesota. We couldn’t be happier with the selection.”

The project will increase the state’s commitment to education in science, technology, engineering and math. It will provide a showcase for University research and an expanded training ground for undergraduates preparing for careers as science educators. The new facility will support an integrated approach to natural history and astrophysical science that will focus on the challenges our planet faces, including climate change, water quality, and sustainable food production.

The University is in the process of hiring construction management and exhibit design and fabrication services for the project.

For details on the team, visit:

The Bell Museum of Natural History strives to discover, document and understand life in its many forms, and to inspire curiosity, delight and informed stewardship of the natural world. The Bell Museum is part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. For details visit

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