The Delaware Museum of Natural History is kicking off a $9.8 million capital campaign to upgrade the museum’s galleries and public spaces while moving away from exhibits based on taxidermy.
This is the largest redesign since the museum opened in 1972.
Over the past four years, the museum held focus groups, collaborated with community partners, and consulted institutions to create a “vision for experiential programs, innovative exhibits, and 21st-century approaches to nature and science education. Plans for the new museum will be unveiled to the public in June,” a release stated.
The museum will close for construction in early 2021 and reopen in early 2022 as the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science.
To date, five government entities (federal, state, county), six corporations, 15 foundations and 66 individuals contributed 54 percent of the campaign’s funding goal. It includes a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
“We are deeply appreciative of—and invigorated by—endorsements from many supporters who have told us, ‘we see the need for your programs, we agree with what you are doing, we are confident in your abilities, and we support where you are going,’” said Museum Board President Richard F. Cairns.
“By switching from static, taxonomy-based dioramas to interactive, ecosystem-based areas, the new museum will inspire people to discover, examine, and uncover the wonders of science in the natural world,” said Executive Director Halsey Spruance.
Highlights of the museum will include:
- Discovering the biodiversity of our area in the Delaware Regional Journey Gallery
- Exploring how we are all connected in the Global Ecosystems Journey Gallery
- Traveling back in time and roaming with dinosaurs in the PaleoZone
- Tracing the evolution of life on earth along the outdoor Evolution Trail
- Connecting nature with science in compelling and unexpected ways in the Discovery Gallery
- Learning about cutting-edge science at universities and conservation organizations in the Research Headquarters
The Museum Metamorphosis campaign budget includes the design and construction of new exhibits and outdoor components, as well as installing an up-to-date fire suppression system.
This is the second capital campaign the museum has undertaken. In 2005, the museum completed a $5 million campaign, which created a new entrance vestibule, a sky lit atrium in the center of the museum, and a new gallery dedicated to traveling exhibits, among other updates.
For more information, visit evolve.delmnh.org
The Delaware Museum of Natural History opened its doors in 1972. The museum houses Delaware’s only permanent dinosaur display, surrounded by exhibits of mammals, shells, and other specimens from around the world. The museum stores scientific collections of mollusks and birds, including one of the top-ten mollusk collections in the United States.