'Immersing visitors in nature': Minnesota's US$79.2m Bell Museum reopening this month following redevelopment

by Megan Whitby | 03 Jul 2018

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.

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.

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.

The Bell Museum and its designers hope that the development will "bring together science, art, and the environment with a unique Minnesota perspective".

Minnesota  Bell Museum  
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
CLD,HAM
The Bell was previously known as the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History / Courtesy of the Bell Museum and University of Minnesota
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6522     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6522     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering, and pool and spa equipment.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Stacks of cement roof tiles make up the walls of the structure
Mexican architect Frida Escobedo runs a practice in Mexico City
"I hope visitors will find a space in which the passage of time feels a bit hazy — fun yet meditative"

Creating the Serpentine Pavilion

The landscaping is inspired by the volcanic landscape of Jeju Island. The 38-floor tower features a hotel and casino
Martha Schwartz
"No one is taking the issue of climate change seriously. Some bad things will have to happen before there is a change"

The outspoken landscape architect on climate change, bagels and being controversial

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Many people today are searching for a sense of community
"Wellness real estate makes up about 1.5% of the total annual global construction market"

Research by the Global Wellness Institute valued wellness real estate at US$134bn in 2017 and growing. The research authors outline the implications

Musée de la Romanité
French-Brazilian architect Elizabeth de Portzamparc designed the museum
"This museum is the smallest public facility I’ve worked on, but the most symbolic"

On her futuristic new museum

features
Dublin-born David Collins moved to London in the 1980s and founded David Collins Studio in 1985
"The Studio is such a big part of our lives, that it just continued, albeit through a very challenging period"

David Collins was behind the design of many of London’s hottest destinations Today his legacy lives on via the studio’s glamorous international projects

An interactive Fun House is Snarkitecture’s design for Summer Block Party
"Part museum exhibition and part immersive environment, the project invites visitors to explore Snarkitecture’s work"

Reimagining the traditional home

UNSense aims to integrate technologies into the built environment
Ben van Berkel believes practices will all become ‘arch tech’ firms
"We’re living in the age of the iPhone, yet the architecture and construction industries are still in the Walkman phase"

On the launch of his tech startup

cladkit product news
Parkside opens flagship Chelsea showroom
The showroom is designed to inspire its clients
Lauren Heath-Jones
Parkside, a designer of contemporary porcelain and ceramic tiles, has opened its first showroom in the UK. Located in Chelsea ...
Bright Buildings to create UK's first 'open sky' swimming pool
Bright Buildings will create the retractable roof for the Open Sky pool at Ivybridge Leisure Centre
Lauren Heath-Jones
Leisure operator Fusion Lifestyle has announced that it will invest millions of pounds over the course of the next three ...
Empex Watertoys partners with Singapore architecture firm on new splash park
Buds is a new splash park that caters to children aged 12 and under
Lauren Heath-Jones
Empex Watertoys has partnered with Singapore landscape architecture firm Playpoint Singapore Pte to create Buds, an exciting new splash park ...
cladkit product news
EAS PREVIEW: Bright Buildings to exhibit BrightOpen designs
Bright Buildings will be showcasing its range of BrightOpen buildings
At this year’s Euro Attractions Show (EAS), design and architecture firm Bright Buildings will be exhibiting its range of BrightOpen ...
Dornbracht debuts Rainmoon wellness shower concept at  Salone del Mobile
Rainmoon is a multi-sensory wellness experience designed to revitalise and reinvigorate the user
Lauren Heath-Jones
Dornbracht, a German-based luxury bathroom specialist, has launched an innovative new shower experience, Rainmoon. Slated as the next generation of ...
Kvorning wins contest to design aquaculture exhibit at Norway's Coastal Museum
The exhibition explores the history of Norway's fish-farming industry dating back to 1970
Lauren Heath-Jones
Copenhagen-based design studio Kvorning Design and Norwegian advertising agency Vindfang have won a competition, organised by Museums in Sør Trøndelag ...
cladkit product news
London's new pollution-eating living wall has air purifying power of 275 trees
CityTree is a living wall that reduces particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air by 30 per cent
Lauren Heath-Jones
The Crown Estate, a London-based commercial real estate company, has partnered with Westminster City Council and cleantech specialist Evergen Systems ...
Ben van Berkel launches UNSense startup to boost health and wellbeing in built environments
Kim Megson
Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and his design firm UNStudio have launched a tech startup to “improve the health and ...
Carlo Ratti's 'wonder wall' robot could become reality with kickstarter campaign
Unveiled at Milan Design Week, as part of Ratti's Living Nature installation, the Scribit is the result of Ratti's ongoing investigation into and development of writing machines
Lauren Heath-Jones
Carlo Ratti Associatti has developed an intelligent robot capable of writing and drawing on vertical surfaces. Called Scribit, the device ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates