Opening Set for Natural History Museum

(KCPW News) The Natural History Museum of Utah has announced it will welcome patrons into its new home in early winter. The Rio Tinto Center will open to the public on Friday, November 18th, housing 1.2 million objects from around the state and region. Executive Director Sarah George says right now, they’re laying down the finishing touches.

“We’ve finished the exhibit construction so the big cases are in, the murals are in and so on, but we have hundreds of objects that are being mounted, we have interactive exhibits that we’re testing right now, we’re putting labels on the dinosaurs, lots of little things,” says George.

The museum hopes to obtain a LEED Gold certification for the new facility, which will have a controlled climate with radiant heating and cooling in the floors, along with plenty of windows for natural light.

George says another unique aspect of the new, 163,000-square-foot space is that it connects with the surrounding environment.

“In the Great Salt Lake gallery, we have a giant picture window and you can actually look out and see the lake,” she says. “And that’s unusual; usually museums are very interior focused. But we couldn’t be in the foothills of this valley and not take advantage of the spectacular views, because they’re wonderful teaching tools.”

The museum is looking for volunteers to help with visitor services, like school programs. It’s also hiring gallery interpreters and architecture tour guides.