Bell Museum exterior with snow on the ground

The Bell Museum Reopens March 12

Bell Museum, Adrienne Wiseman, 612.624.0794 and Nehwoen Luogon-Bojkov,

The Bell Museum will be open Friday–Sunday, beginning Friday, March 12.

Tickets go on sale: 
February 24 for Bell members 
February 26 to the General Public

Guests will need to make advance timed reservations online at

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


MINNEAPOLIS/ST.PAUL (2/19/21) – The Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota will reopen on March 12. The Bell Museum brings together natural history, astronomy, art and the environment with a unique Minnesota perspective and features high-tech exhibits, famous wildlife dioramas and outdoor learning experiences.

Starting Friday, March 12, the Bell Museum will be reopening with a few adjustments:

  • Limited days and hours of operation: Friday–Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
  • Attendance will remain limited to 25% 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.
  • All visitors over 2 years old must wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose. Face coverings must have 2 or more layers, fit snugly against the face, and must not include valves or vents. 
  • We have enhanced cleaning throughout the exhibit spaces, planetarium 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 from or call 612-626-9660, Wednesday–Sunday 10 am–3 pm. 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.

Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium 

The Bell’s state-of-the-art planetarium also opens March 12. We’ve enhanced both cleaning and airflow between shows and restricting each live show to only 25% of the house, for an exceptional experience in the planetarium dome.  As before, assistive listening devices are available. 

We’ll open with a daily schedule including three Bell original programs in rotation, suitable for audiences of all ages.

Out of this World
Hop into the Bell Museum’s spaceship and tour the planets of our solar system in this interactive program.. 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).

Mysteries of Your Brain
Mysteries of Your Brain takes you on an immersive, animated adventure into the human brain, exploring how the brain works and what makes human brains so special. Your tour guides on this journey are a curious girl and her crow companion—together you’ll zoom along the paths of neurons, fly through brains and experience illusions on a grand scale.

Minnesota Night Skies
Join our planetarium staff as we take a look at the sky above Minnesota, including seasonal constellations, the Moon, and visible planets. There’s something in the sky for everyone, bring your questions!

On view at the Bell this spring

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, including the Bell’s showstopper Woolly Mammoth diorama. Also, learn about U of M researchers who are working to create a better future for our evolving world.

*NEW* Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice 
The Bell Museum presents an exhibition on environmental justice from the Humanities Action Lab, a coalition of students, educators, and community leaders that produces projects on urgent social issues. This exhibition, produced with the help of University of Minnesota students and faculty, focuses on storytelling and the experience of communities that bear the greatest impact from environmental degradation while contributing the least to it. Join us as we learn about environmental justice around the world and here in Minnesota, and discover ways to get involved. Three free panel discussions.

*NEW* Fifty Nights Under the Stars with Mike Shaw, resident artist
Minnesota has some of the darkest—and most beautiful—night skies on the planet. But it can be hard to find a naturally dark night sky for observing night sky objects. During a summer 2020 residency, Mike Shaw spent 50 nights under the stars, visiting urban, rural, and wilderness sites across the state to capture these stunning nightscapes. A display of photographs from Shaw’s project opens in the Bell’s Horizon Hall. It demonstrates how stray light from cities and towns affects what we can see in our night skies, and proposes we can do more to protect Minnesota’s nightscapes for future generations.

*NEW* Flora and Pharma: Medicinal Plants and Pandemic Apparel
Becka Rahn, Bell Museum showcase artist, is a fabric designer and fiber artist. Rahn dives into our Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas to complete a project drawing on the collection of the University of Minnesota Herbarium at the Bell Museum. Rahn selected medicinal plant species from the collection and created cut paper illustrations which she features on cotton masks. A small selection of Rahn’s masks will be on view, along with the herbarium sheets that inspired them.

Connecting to Minnesota’s Forests: Past, Present, Future
Join us inside and outside the museum to check out this set of installations from resident artist Josh Winkler. Winkler’s residency has explored interconnection within ecosystems, communities, and families, focusing on the ways we are experiencing—or not experiencing—nature in the present pandemic moment.

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.

*RETURNING* Summer Camps 2021
Yes, campers will be returning to the Bell this summer! More details to come, but we will be welcoming campers both on-site and via virtual camp-in-a-box activities. Stay tuned for details in early March.


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