On March 2nd the ARCS Utah Chapter was given an indepth tour of the Natural History Museum of Utah by Executive Director, Sarah George. The Museum is now located in a stunning new building situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, overlooking Salt Lake City and inspired by the diverse landscape of Utah. The $103 million Rio Tinto Center, funded by a public and private partnership, is deeply rooted in place and infused with multiple features that embrace both traditional and new media techniques – a new Museum that sets a new standard for a Natural History Museum of the 21st Century. Structural elements of the building were described by Ronald Dunn and his son, David Dunn who were the structural engineers for this unique, highly complex building. The tour also included a back-stage tour of the areas where collections are stored and research is done. The intricate HVAC system to keep various areas perfectly climate controlled was particularly interesting.
The new Museum's exhibitions tap its vast collections in new ways and aim to put more of Utah's treasures on display. This is done in a set of interdisciplinary galleries that explore the diverse ways in which we understand our world. Nine dedicated, thematic exhibition galleries explore the Sky, Native Voices, Life, Land, First Peoples, Lake (Great Salt Lake), Past Worlds, Our Backyard and Utah's Futures. Each gallery draws from several scientific disciplines and collections as well as from the humanities. The ARCS Utah Chapter members were particularly enthused about Salt Lake Valley/Great Salt Lake hydrologic display as seen in the photo.
We had a great turn-out with nearly 30 people in attendance for this fabulous Museum tour. It was great to have Josh Sewell, 2010 ARCS Scholar with his family and Shannon Reynolds, 2011 ARCS scholar with us too. Along with our members and Scholars Jeanette Herbert, Utah's First Lady; Dr. Sandy Pershing, new University President, Dr. Dave Pershing's wife; Dean Rich Brown and his wife, Brenda; and Marilyn Davies, Development Director from the College of Engineering also attended.