'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 7568     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7568     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Unrelenting drive to be the best at what we do underpins activity throughout our vertically integrated business life cycle.
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
Elina Grigoriou
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

The hotel has just two floors above ground; the other 16 floors are below
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Collaboration is at the heart of NBW’s working practices
Thomas Woltz
"I am very proud of stewarding the largest public space to be built in Manhattan in a century"

The Wall Street Journal’s Design Innovator of the Year on designing the gardens at Hudson Yards and looking to the Native Americans for ideas on how to create a resilient future

The SHL-designed Vendsyssel Theater in Denmark
"Most clients are very focused on how buildings are used and experienced as the primary design driver"

The MD of Schmidt Hammer Lassen and the CEO of PerkinsWill tell us why their merger will help create smarter buildings driven by human behaviour

features
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

The Electric Lemon restaurant features glamorous interiors by Rockwell Group
"Further hotels have been confirmed for Los Angeles, Santa Clara, CA, Seattle, Chicago and Houston"

Rockwell Group and Joyce Wang on the inspirations behind the guest rooms, public spaces, spa and gym at Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards

cladkit product news
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
cladkit product news
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
cladkit product news
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates