Family-Friendly Natural History Museum Opens

Story by Elysia Yuen
The new Natural History Museum of Utah is a place of interactive learning and growth for people of all ages.
The museum opened on Nov. 18, 2011. It displays 10 new galleries including three learning labs to enhance learning opportunities for its visitors.
“This is a place where we can inspire that curiosity early on and get kids trying their hand at observation, at study, at really trying to figure things out on their own,” said Becky Menlove, exhibit director for the museum.
Randy Irmis, curator of paleontology emphasized that a goal of the museum was to encourage families to enjoy the experience together.
“In each area you’ll find something to look at, something to listen to, something to smell and something to do,” said Irmis.
The museum connects visitors to several branches of science instead of focusing on only one subject. It also focuses on informing patrons of Utah’s natural surroundings and Native people.
The new exhibits include: Utah Sky and View Terrace, Native Voice, Life, Land, First Peoples, Lake (Great Salt Lake), Past Worlds, Utah Futures, Minerals and Our Backyard. Each display emphasizes the unique characteristics and history of the Utah area.
The design of the building also reflects Utah’s history. Todd Schliemann, the building’s architect, spent many years studying the geography of Utah.
Schliemann said he wanted the space to “symbolize the beauty and magnitude of the state’s unique landscapes.”
All of the displays and architecture are an integrated effort to enhance learning and interactivity among its visitors.
For those on a budget wanting to visit the museum, free admission days will be offered during the 2012 season. The dates are as follows: Jan. 9, April 9, July 9 and Sep. 22. More information can also be found on the museum website,

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