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New Building

Current Bell Museum Condition and Needs

At Minnesota's state natural history museum, staff strive to inspire and prepare our 21st century workforce in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math). Our efforts to serve students, educators and families are often frustrated by antiquated, inflexible facilities.

Since the Legislature last voted to support a new facility in 2009, conditions at the Bell Museum of Natural History have continued to deteriorate. Irreplaceable state assets valued at more than $20 million are endangered by plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems from the 1930s that frequently break down. Basement flooding, corroded plumbing, rodent infestations, recurring mold problems and wide temperature and humidity swings are a daily fact of life at the museum. While the building isn’t damaged beyond repair, a more welcoming, modern museum and planetarium would better serve our K12 students and excite them to pursue STEM careers.

Read the 1872 legislation that created our museum and mission.  Or browse our FAQs page.

The Falcon Heights City Council passed a resolution supporting the project and others like Paul Douglas have shared why they believe a new museum and planetarium is important—read what he had to say.

What will the new building look like?

The planning process may lead to some features remaining from early designs, while others may be altered or removed to create our ideal facility. What we do know, is that the new facility will house the great exhibits, programs and planetarium shows you expect from the Bell Museum.

A New Bell Museum and Planetarium Will:

•  better address Minnesota’s achievement gap in STEM education.
•  inspire the next generation of STEM workers needed by Minnesota businesses.
•  expand University of Minnesota environmental, biological and astrophysical information and education for schools and families.
•  create the flagship planetarium in Minnesota.
•  increase it statewide reach by investing the increased revenues generated by a new facility to expand

Evolving Museum + Planetarium

Jan_EarthIn 2011 the Minnesota Planetarium Society transferred its programs and assets to the Bell Museum, creating an integrated organization with even greater potential to address Minnesota’s STEM education needs. The museum’s evolving vision is that creativity and scientific literacy will flourish as people are inspired to ask about our place in the Universe. As a result, people will be moved to act and become teachers, researchers and community leaders in environmental issues.



Advisory Board

Read a welcome greeting from the Chair and updates from the Board.

Board Members

Here are the community members who have stepped forward to guide the museum.

Board Vision

View the Advisory Board's short-term goals for the museum.

Be Involved 

This public museum needs your involvement and creativity.