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Tours

The Bell Museum of Natural History offers memorable tours for groups of all ages, sizes and interests!

Standard tour packages are listed below, but groups with special interests can arrange more specific tours by contacting the museum well in advance. Most tours are led by enthusiastic University of Minnesota students studying education and the natural sciences, while some specialty tours are led by experts in the tour-specific field.

To register for tours at the Bell museum, call (612) 626-9660 or email belladmn@umn.edu. The registration office is open Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


For Youth

Discovery Tour

Explore the museum's habitat dioramas and experience the wide-open prairie, the shadowy coniferous forest, and the shores of Lake Superior. Museum interpreters bring these displays to life with lively discussion and fun, age-appropriate activities and lead visitors through the Touch and See room.
Length: 1 hour
Cost: $4.25/student

Discovery Plus Tour

This tour combines the Discovery Tour with an additional half hour in our Touch and See room, featuring an extensive collection of live animals, bones, skins, specimens, rocks, fossils, and trees. Interpretive staff are available to assist student explorations.
Length: 1.5 hour
Cost: $4.75/student

Self-guided Exploration

For groups with a special project, for art classes, or for those who prefer to explore the Bell Museum on their own. Explore the mammal and bird diorama halls, the Touch and See room and special exhibit galleries.
Length: 1 hour
Cost: $3.50/student



For Adults


Enhance your learning and get to know the collections of the Bell Museum through our tour opportunities including standard Bell Museum tours as well as special exhibit tours. Tours can be booked in advance. Download an information sheet.

Diorama Tour

60 minutes, $8 adults/$6 students & seniors
The renowned diorama halls of the Bell Museum tell the story of Minnesota’s nature and ecology through time. From moose to bald eagles, badgers to wolves—get a slice- of-life view of amazing Minnesota animals and observe how their habitats, based on real Minnesota places, have changed from the early 1900s to the present day. Did you know that the dioramas double as an invaluable art collection? Study the groundbreaking technique and distinctive style of distinguished diorama artist Francis Lee Jaques.

Diorama Plus Tour

90 minutes, $10 adults/$8 students & seniors
Experience the Diorama Tour plus an extra 30 minutes to visit a special gallery exhibition, interact with real objects from the scientific collections in the Touch & See Discovery Room, or deepen your knowledge in the diorama halls.

Curator Tour: Diorama Hall

60 minutes, diorama or diorama plus rates + $60 curator add-on
Delve into the Bell Museum’s iconic dioramas from the perspective of a museum curator. One of our resident experts will help
you engage with the art, history, and science that make the diorama displays an inimitable resource for environmental learning against the backdrop of sweeping global and local changes to climate, habitats, ecosystems, and wildlife populations. From a busy lodge of taxidermy beavers to a prairie molded in delicate hand-painted wax—your Bell Museum curator will lead the discussion into how and why dioramas were made, how they are maintained and preserved, and what they can tell us about the history and future of Minnesota’s natural world.
 

Exhibition Tour: Audubon and the Art of Birds

Gallery Tour

60 minutes, limit 20 , $8 adults/$6 students & seniors
Explore Audubon and the Art of Birds in a small group led by a University student interpretive guide. Featuring the work of John James Audubon and his famous publication The Birds of America, dating from 1826-1838, the exhibition also includes a sampling of the finest bird art from the Renaissance to present day. In addition to leading discussions and answering questions about various works, your guide will interpret major themes of the exhibition using objects, interactive displays and real bird specimens to deepen your exploration of the art and science of birds.

Gallery Tour Plus

90 minutes, limit 20 , $10 adults/$8 students & seniors
Spend a full hour in the Audubon and the Art of Birds plus an additional 30 minutes to further explore the gallery, tour the diorama halls, or interact with real objects from the scientific collections in the Touch & See Discovery Room.

Special Curator Tour

60 minutes, limit 20, gallery or gallery plus rates + $60 curator add-on
Join curator Don Luce for a comprehensive tour of his museum masterpiece, Audubon and the Art of Birds. Luce will present major exhibition themes and guide guests through a detailed observation and comparison of works by John James Audubon and 40 other leading artists. You’ll be given a behind-the-scenes peek into the development of Audubon and the Art of Birds, with topics including the history of the Bell’s art collections, and the process by which artists and artworks were selected. Don Luce is an expert on natural history art, and has developed more than 30 exhibitions during his more than three decades as curator of exhibits at the Bell Museum of Natural History. The tour includes ample opportunity for in-depth questions and discussion.


To make reservations for a tour or for further information, please call (612) 626-9660 or email: belladmn@umn.edu. The reservation desk is open Tuesday through Friday between 9 a.m. - 4:30p.m.