Exhibit Galleries

Rendering of the Why Is Earth Special gallery

Featuring our world renowned wildlife dioramas by Walter Breckenridge, Francis Lee Jaques, and John Jarosz, our permanent galleries will further connect people, nature, and the universe. These new galleries are organized by four themes:

Why is Earth special?

As Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, it was bestowed with unique characteristics. Data and images from a wide variety of telescopes and other specialized instruments will reconstruct the story of Earth’s origins. This gallery will also show how modern astronomers continue the quest to find potentially life-bearing worlds beyond our solar system.

The tree of life

All species that ever were can be imagined as a tangled Tree of Life on Earth. In a constant, sometimes violent dance with our environment, species travel in space and time, chasing after habitats, sometimes multiplying, and sometimes disappearing forever. In this gallery, you’ll see examples of biological specimens that show adaptation, convergence and mutation illustrating evolution—the process by which genetic changes occur over time.

The web of life

Humans, just like herons or honey bees, must feed, reproduce, and raise their young. This gallery journeys through Minnesota’s biomes, including coniferous forests, prairies and prairie wetlands, big woods and big rivers. Explore ecological concepts such as species interactions, food webs, and nutrient cycling. Our Jaques dioramas are central to the design of this section.

Imagining our future

We as a species have triggered a new epoch in Earth’s history, where humans are no longer mere inhabitants, but in many ways, drivers of change. This gallery examines the influence people have had on the natural world, and University of Minnesota researchers driven to create a better future.

Special exhibits

The new Bell Museum also features a flexible area with up to 5,000 square feet of temporary exhibit space, which can be used for exhibits created by the Bell or rented from other institutions. This space comes equipped with movable walls and advanced lighting, audio, security and information technology.

Minnesota treasures

Learn how you can help the museum preserve and reinterpret our famous Jaques dioramas by making a donation or joining the Diorama Legacy Society!

Support the new Bell

Every gift makes a difference. Help us build a new, world-class museum by contributing to enhanced exhibits and visitor experiences.

Learn how to support the new Bell Museum or contact Laura Vitko (612-624-0089, krue0192@umn.edu) for more information.