Kids check out the pond on the Bell Museum's Learning Landscape

Bell Reopening News

The Bell Museum Reopens July 16


Bell Museum, Adrienne Wiseman, 612.624.0794


The Bell Museum will be open Thursday–Sunday, July 16–19 for members and to the general public beginning on Thursday, July 23.


Guests will need to make advance timed reservations online.


A selection of images can be found here, more available as needed.

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (July 13, 2020) — The Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota will reopen to members on July 16 and to the general public on July 23. The Bell Museum brings together science, art and the environment with a unique Minnesota perspective and features high-tech exhibits, famous wildlife dioramas and outdoor learning experiences.

With approval from public health and University officials, the Bell Museum will take a measured approach to reopening, with safety being the highest priority for visitors and staff members. The museum will continually evaluate safety measures and seek feedback from staff and visitors, and make adjustments as necessary.

Starting Thursday, July 16, the Bell Museum will be reopening with a few adjustments:

  • Limited days and hours of operation: Thursday–Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
  • Attendance will be limited to 25 percent of our building’s capacity at any single time to encourage physical distancing and allow ample space for every visitor.
  • We will require advance reservations of tickets for timed entry to the museum.
  • To maintain safe physical distancing, the Planetarium will not be open during this phase of reopening.
  • All visitors over 2 years old must wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose. If a visitor has a medical condition or disability that prevents this, reasonable accommodations will be provided.
  • We have enhanced cleaning throughout the exhibit spaces and Touch & See for a safe visit.

“As Minnesota’s natural history museum, the Bell Museum serves a unique role in our community and state,” said Denise Young, Executive Director of the Bell Museum. “We exist to educate and inspire people about the natural world and, in this challenging and stressful time, we can offer a safe place to escape and reflect, enjoying the beauty of nature. We hope our visitors will enjoy the change of scenery from months of being limited to our homes. Museums are great places to have fun, learn together, and make new memories, and the Bell Museum is excited and ready to reopen.”

To purchase tickets, follow the instructions at our website or call 612-626-9660, 10 am–5 pm, Monday–Friday. To access waived admission programs (Explore passes, and waived admission for Indigenous peoples, and other discounts, passes or offers), please call in advance, 612-626-9660.

About the Bell Museum

The Bell Museum is Minnesota’s state natural history museum, founded in 1872. The museum is part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Our mission is to ignite curiosity and wonder, explore our connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world. For details, visit


On view at the Bell this summer

Minnesota Journeys
The permanent galleries—which include our world renowned wildlife dioramas—span space and time, from the origins of the universe, through the diversification of life on Earth, to Minnesota’s own unique habitats. Also, learn about U of M researchers who are working to create a better future for our evolving world.

Touch & See Lab
The Bell Museum created the first natural history museum discovery room in the world, and we are proud to carry that tradition on in the new Touch & See Lab where all ages can actively learn through observation and sensory engagement.

Audubon Animated
See Audubon’s Birds of America come to life in this multimedia exhibition; we’ve extended this exhibition through Fall 2020. Walk into the immersive video room “The Audubon Experience” and find yourself surrounded by a virtual swamp and forest where 20 of Audubon’s birds are brought to life through motion and sound.

Learning Landscape
The learning continues outside with a second floor green roof and observation deck, and sustainable landscaping with native plants, geology exploration area, solar station, and other highlights on the ground floor. A new sculptural installation by Minnesota artist Josh Winkler has recently been installed in the Learning Landscape. This piece will be a stone cairn made from cast concrete and iron stones. The artist is working on establishing colonies of lichen and moss on the stones, using material he’s gathered on walks in the forest near his home in southern Minnesota, and working with ecology professor and Bell Museum Associate Daniel Stanton to identify what will be most likely to grow well at the Bell.

A Museum Without Boundaries
Even with our reopening in sight, more than ever before the Bell is also committed to finding new ways to exist as a museum without boundaries. We will continue our commitment to sharing virtual experiences, activities, and ways to dive deeper into the world around you, whether you’re exploring online, from your window, out in nature, or looking up at the stars. We’ll continue an array of online educational programs and will be continuing our ongoing program to distribute Science & Nature Activity Kits through select local school districts and community organizations.

Science & Nature Activity Kits
The Bell Museum staff have been busy creating, packing and distributing Science & Nature Activity Kits for 1,350 elementary-aged scholars in the Roseville School District in late May. In partnership with the Roseville School District Nutrition Services Team, these Museum at Home kits were distributed to families alongside their school provided meals. Kits included a wide range of simple activities students can use independently. These activities were developed to spark curiosity and exploration during distance learning, including supplies to create “fossils” at home, design a mini planetarium, experiment with animal sounds, and record observations to explore the world around us. “While we miss having field trips full of students visiting the Bell, we are proud to increase science learning accessibility through distributing these kits,” said Bell director Denise Young. Altogether, over 8,000 kits are going out through schools and social service organizations this summer.