After more than 75 years on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, the Bell Museum of Natural History is moving to the other Twin City.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that construction has begun on a new $79.2 million complex that will be a gateway to the university’s St. Paul campus.
Renamed the Bell Museum + Planetarium, the new facility will have a 120-seat domed planetarium/theater, expanded galleries, interactive exhibitions, traditional dioramas and the latest technology. It is scheduled to open in summer 2018.
Basic construction and landscaping will cost $64.2 million, which has already been raised. The Legislature provided $51.5 million, the university contributed $6.7 million, and private sources donated $6 million.
Museum officials also are seeking an additional $15 million for program support, endowment, technology upgrades and completing an additional 1,500 square feet of temporary exhibition galleries.
The university says the new museum facility will enable it to boost the number of visitors from 45,000 a year to 105,000 a year; increase access and opportunities for underserved communities; create an intergenerational gathering space for lifelong learning; and provide a portal to university research.
The architect is Perkins + Will.