The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History announced today it will re-open to the public Sunday, April 14, in a brand-new building.
Favorite displays and specimens will mix with new exhibits in a state-of-the-art learning facility that combines billions of years of natural history with cutting-edge scientific research.
The museum, part of U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, closed in December 2017, moving from its previous home in the Ruthven Building to its current location across the plaza in the new $261 million, 312,000-square-foot Biological Sciences Building, one of the largest and most interactive teaching and research facilities of its kind among higher education institutions.
Some of the museum’s newest features include a 25-foot Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur flying high in the Biological Sciences Building atrium; a high-tech planetarium and dome theater; an interactive, multimedia “Tree of Life” display to illustrate the connections among all living things; the Fossil Prep Lab, where visitors can see how fossils are prepared for study and display; and the Student Showcase, which features research projects from U-M undergraduate students across disciplines.
he museum will serve as a space where visitors can learn and explore about the past while discovering the present. Additional exhibits, including one about the natural history of Michigan and another exploring the world of microbiology, will open in November 2019.
“This is such an exciting time for the museum,” said Amy Harris, director of the natural history museum. “We’re looking forward to seeing our visitors’ faces as they discover old friends such as the mastodon couple in their new home, or meet our new dinosaur, Majungasaurus, for the first time. It is an important moment for the university and the community at large, and we look forward to sharing our new space with everyone.”
Visitors will be welcomed by two 70-year-old puma sculptures at the building’s entrance, favorites of many students and the public. Upon entering, they will be greeted by the museum’s iconic mastodon couple, view prehistoric whale skeletons, and walk through 4 billion years of the history of life on Earth, where they can see and touch real specimens and even a T. rex skull.