Sixteen months is a long time to hibernate. But on April 14, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed once more – and open in its brand-new building.
From pterodactyls to protons, visitors can explore modern science and ancient history, plus marvel at a mix of old favorite and brand-new exhibits.
It’s been a long time coming, says marketing and communications manager Lori Dick, who’s been helping with the project for two years. But UMMNH is ready.
“I just can’t wait to see people’s faces,” she says – “the awe and acceptance that the new museum is even better than the old one.”
Namely, that’s the $261 million, 312,000-square-foot Biological Sciences Building – which is across the plaza from UMMNH’s generations-old home in the Ruthven Building.
The new museum winds through the building’s research labs, encouraging guests to glimpse at real-life university research. It’s a prime way to introduce young, curious minds to the work involved with anthropology and biology.
“We hope that our young visitors will be inspired and have a lifelong curiosity,” Dick says. “We’re hoping the new museum will really impact young people.”
With about 4 billion years of history to explore, the odds are high – from the museum’s beloved mastodon to a new 25-foot Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur. There’s also a new high-tech planetarium and dome theater, multimedia “Tree of Life” and a fossil prep lab.
Watch for periodic events, too, like a student showcase set to open this month.
The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is located in the Biological Science Building at 1105 N. University Ave. in Ann Arbor. It’s open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays.
Admission to the museum is free but donations are always welcome. Planetarium and dome shows are $8/person.
For more information, visit the museum online.
3 Museum Must-Sees
1. Fossils: From the Quetzalcoatlus – a 25-foot prehistoric flying reptile – and mastodons to a T. rex skull and new dinosaur, the Majungasaurus from Madagascar, meet plenty of larger-than-life ancient animals.
2. Planetarium and dome theater: Sit back, relax and enjoy the night sky – or the oceans’ reefs, Earth’s geology and weather – from the comfort of theater seats.
3. Evolution: Life Through Time: This exhibit highlights Earth’s five major extinctions since life began some 4 billion years ago. Study fossil records and specimens to learn how evolution connects the ancient world to modern life.