Visitors sketch specimens in Collections Cove

2019 Report to the Community

July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019

Published10/18/2019 , by Denise Young & Brian Buhr


When Minnesota legislators called for a state museum of natural history in 1872, they proved their smart and innovative thinking about the enduring role of nature to our wellbeing as a people and a state. Our research is at the forefront of describing and explaining environmental change and biodiversity, our scientific collections are more active and accessible than ever, and we are delivering educational programs in communities across the state.

And, then… there’s the new Bell Museum facility that opened in summer 2018. Our inspiring new exhibits, stunning Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium, and beautiful Learning Landscape are providing unprecedented opportunities for engagement with the natural world.

In our first year, 230,942 people visited the new Bell Museum—up from an average of 37,000 at our previous location. We are especially delighted to see the busloads of school-aged children arriving at our doorsteps each morning. A Bell visit is known to launch a lifetime passion for nature—and many science-related careers, too!

For many children, their Bell visit is also their first interaction with the University of Minnesota. Opportunities to talk with University students and researchers open their minds to the role of science in our world, the diversity of people involved in research, the process (and fun!) of discovery, and how much we need their good thinking and active involvement to create a brighter future for our state and world.

Our future is dependent on EVERYONE having equitable access to the museum’s resources, and we are proud to represent an organization deeply committed to inclusion and diversity through access memberships and admission programs, a strong community advisory board, a committed team of staff and volunteers, and generous University and community partners.

The natural world is an important part of our heritage in Minnesota, and it’s a vital part of our future. Thank you for carrying forward the vision of the Bell Museum for this and future generations.

Read the report here.


Denise Young headshot
Denise Young's signature
Denise Young, Ed.D.
Executive Director, Bell Museum
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
University of Minnesota

Brian Buhr headshot
Brian Buhr's signature
Brian Buhr, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
University of Minnesota