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Cleveland Museum of Natural History breaks ground on $150m expansion

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has broken ground on a $150 million expansion, scheduled to open in phases from 2022.

cleveland museum of natural history expansion

As part of the $150m project, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is pioneering a new model for natural history museums by reconceptualising all of its exhibits.

The 50,000-square-foot expansion at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History also involves adding new and reimagined public spaces, which will open in phases from 2022.

The CMNH, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, boasts more than 5 million artefacts and specimens, as well as more than 11,000 acres of nature preserves.

“The events of the past year have underscored the ways in which human life is inexorably bound with natural forces, and how a robust understanding of current science is needed to make critical choices in our daily lives,” said Sonia Winner, CMNH president and CEO.

Reconceptualising all exhibits at CMNH

“We are creating a new model for natural history museums that uses the past to inform our present to build a better future together,” Winner added.

“Our reimagined museum will illuminate the interconnectedness of human life and the natural world, and how science is essential to our lives.”

The CMNH’s redesigned exhibits, developed by Gallagher & Associates, will take a new approach to natural history. The architectural design by DLR Group merges the original building with six expansions to form a unified complex.

The 50,000-square-foot expansion is being constructed on a parking lot and will be seamlessly interwoven with the existing structures to create a welcome area. This will be home to various signature specimens.

Exhibitions will be organised across two wings, which are separated by planetary processes and biological processes. In addition, the museum will feature new labs for educational programming, as well as expanded visitor amenities and event spaces.

Expansion opens in phases from 2022

The Ames Family Curiosity Center is a new self-guided interactive space offering activities such as specimen identification and experiment design.

“Our reimagined exhibits will put visitors at the center of the experience and make the museum even more accessible, relevant, and fun,” said Sally Sears, museum trustee and campaign co-chair.

“The research we conduct and the collections we study provide a unique window into the health and wellbeing of our planet and our own lives,” added Gavin Svenson, director of research and collections at CMNH.

“By transforming our exhibitions and our entire program, we can reveal these connections to advance public scientific literacy, increase people’s understanding of their role in the environment, and foster people’s agency in the vital decisions they face every day.”

Images: CMNH

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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