Utah Museum Opens and Astonishes

By Stephanie Graves

Utah History Museum Opens and Astonishes

The Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center officially opened to the public today after years of planning and construction.

Construction for the museum began in 2005 in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountain Range. The museum incorporates many green features including radiant heating and cooling systems, water efficient landscaping and plans for a solar-paneled roof. This roof will provide more than 25 percent of the energy needed to power the museum.

Todd Schliemann, the design architect for the building, said he wanted the museum to “symbolize the beauty and the magnitude of the state’s unique landscapes.”

Not only did he accomplish this through the museum’s location in the scenic foothills, but also through his efforts to construct a sustainable museum. With more than 25 percent of the structural and architectural materials made from recycled resources, and more than 75 percent of the museum’s construction waste being recycled, the museum expects to be awarded an LEED Gold Certification.

As well as being an eco-friendly building, the museum also boasts 10 new galleries detailing the different land features, history and people of Utah.

“The opportunities for kids to explore science here are endless,” said Becky Menlove, the exhibit director for the museum.  She described the children’s experience at the museum as one where they will be exploring more than just one aspect of science.

“ You are not just learning about rocks at a particular time, but also plants, about paleontology, about hydrology and all the forces that go together.”

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Wednesdays to 9p.m. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Adults: $9 (An increase of only $2 from the prior location)

Seniors, 65+: $7

Youth, 13-24: $7

Children, 3-12: $6

Children, 2 and under: Free

Museum Charter Members: Free

Large groups with 12 individuals or more will be admitted for $5 per person with advance notice.