University of Michigan Museum of Natural History to debut new exhibits in November

Second half of museum, including exhibits and hands-on labs, coming soon

Photo: Michelle Andonian

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will be celebrating the opening of its remaining exhibits and labs on Sunday, Nov. 10.

The museum opened in its new location in the $261 million, 312,000-square-foot Biological Sciences Building in April after it called the Ruthven Building home for 90 years.

In November, expect the debut of its second half with three new exhibits:

  • "Under the Microscope" - an interactive exploration of life's building blocks, including an oversized walk-in model of a cell
  • "Exploring Michigan" - a gallery that highlights the state's natural history with hands-on activities
  • "People and the Planet" - an in-depth look at the symbiotic relationship between humans and our natural world
The U-M Museum of Natural History is the only place in the world where visitors can find a mastodon couple exhibited together. (Photo by Michelle Andonian)

In addition, visitors will find Research Stations throughout the building where visitors can observe the work of U-M scientists.

Two new Investigate Labs, the Nature Lab and the Micro Worlds Lab will allow visitors to use tools to explore various elements and phenomena of the natural world, including those that are too small to see with the naked eye.

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The new exhibits will open alongside the museum's famous mastodon couple, a T. rex skull (touching is encouraged) and prehistoric whale skeletons.

Other features include a high-tech Planetarium & Dome Theater, a showstopping 25-foot Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur "flying" in the building's five-story atrium, a Fossil Prep Lab, an interactive Tree of Life multimedia display and more.
"It's been so exciting to share our new home, galleries and programming with the community," director of the museum, Amy Harris, said in a statement. "Now we can't wait for visitors to experience the rest of what we have in store. These hands-on labs and exhibits are unlike anything the museum has been able to offer before, but we've also stayed true to our roots, highlighting our state's own rich natural history."

The Earth Science gallery explores how our planet formed; how its atmosphere, water, and lifeforms changed it over time; and what's going on below its surface. (Photo: Michelle Andonian)

On Nov. 9 ahead of the opening, the museum will be closed to the public for a private preview event for museum donors and members.

Since opening in April, the museum, located at 1105 N. University Ave. has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors. Admission is free, and the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week except for Thursdays when it is open until 8 p.m.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.