Audience in the planetarium wearing masks

Bell Reopening News

Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium opens August 6


Bell Museum, Adrienne Wiseman,, 612.624.0794  

University Relations, Lacey Nygard,


The Bell Museum continues its phased reopening by welcoming guests back to  the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium on Thursday, August 6.


Guests will need to make advance timed reservations online.


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

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

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (8/3/20) — The Bell’s state-of-the-art Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium opens to the public on Thursday, August 6. The planetarium will open with two all-ages programs: Minnesota Night Sky and Out of This World! This summer the planetarium will put the spotlight on Mars, as NASA’s Perseverance rover will launch and be on its way to a February 2021 landing.

For visitor safety, the planetarium audience will operate at 25 percent of its normal capacity, providing an exceptional interactive experience. Planetarium staff will seat each group at a safe physical distance from others, and allow extra time between programs for cleaning and air circulation. All visitors over 2 years old must wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose, and all planetarium staff will be wearing masks.

“For me, a visit to the planetarium is a chance to be in awe of our universe and Earth and to explore those big questions of life we all ask from time to time,” said Bell Museum Executive Director Denise Young. “It’s an opportunity to step back and experience something bigger than myself—to see the interconnectedness of all things. I am thrilled to reopen the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium and excited to welcome everyone to visit with new safety rules in place.”

“We have enjoyed presenting virtual astronomy and space programs over the past few months,” said Planetarium Manager Sally Brummel. “Now we are excited to welcome you back into our theater. There have been so many great celestial events, from the Crew Dragon launch to the ISS, to comet NEOWISE, and we can’t wait to hear your questions!”

Assistive listening devices with single use earpieces are available. An online schedule lists monthly captioned and ASL interpreted programs.

Tickets are available online at one week prior to the show, with an advance day pre-sale each week for Bell members. Two live, interactive presentations will alternate throughout the day:

Minnesota Night Skies

Join planetarium staff on a tour of the sky above Minnesota, including seasonal constellations, the Moon, and visible planets. There’s something in the sky for everyone. Staff will also demonstrate how to locate and identify celestial objects—then visitors will be able to do this from home.

Out of this World

Hop into the Bell Museum’s spaceship and tour the planets of our solar system. Investigate the phases of the Moon, be the first humans to land on Mars, and fly through the rings of Saturn. Discover your favorite planet, or moon, while learning what makes a planet a planet in the first place (sorry Pluto!).


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.

To learn more about programs and events at the Bell Museum, including virtual opportunities, visit

Ongoing Online Programming Continues: Minnesota’s Astronomy Classroom

In addition to the reopening of the planetarium theater, the Bell will be continuing a variety of online programs, developed during the COVID-19 closure. See some of our astronomy content here.