Utah’s Natural History Museum Opens New Center

Story by Kent Ava

SALT LAKE CITY—Utah’s Natural History Museum (UNHM) opened its new Rio Tinto Center to the public on Friday after years of preparation and construction. UNHM, located at the University of Utah, is a leading research center that focuses on Utah’s natural and cultural history.

The museum’s new exhibit galleries were developed by some of the world’s leading scientists, educators and exhibit designers. The new center provides more room for newly dedicated exhibits that range from Utah’s ecosystem to pioneer contributions to genetics and biogeography.

Patti Carpenter, director of public relations for the museum, said about the new space, “I think we put together a great museum in a great location.”

Todd Schliemann, design architect for the center, spent several years studying the landscape and geography of Utah for inspiration.

Schliemann wanted it to “symbolize the beauty and magnitude of the state’s unique landscapes.”

Becky Menlove, who is the director for the exhibits, said that those who visit the exhibit “especially kids” would find that inspiration came from their curiosity.

“Kids who imagine themselves as archeologists or as scientists because this [museum] is a place where we can [help] inspire that curiosity,” said Menlove.

To celebrate opening day, admission is free. The Natural History Museum of Utah is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with hours extended to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays to offer special programming.