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Utah Museum of Natural History

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Sarah George is a strong believer that the key to the future lies in looking to the past. As the executive director of the Utah Museum of Natural History, she finds plenty of opportunities to help others learn this as well.

The Utah Museum of Natural History cares for a wealth of artifacts and specimens found on state and federal lands in Utah. Sarah estimates the museum has more than 1.2 million objects. However, the space the museum occupies in the Thomas Building, the first library for the University of Utah, has become restrictive.

Today the museum can only display about 1 percent of the items from its valuable collections. Ten years ago community and museum officials began talking about providing an updated facility and started planning what it would look like.

After years of working to procure funds, a combination of state funding and a $15 million donation from Kennecott Utah Copper made it possible for the museum to break ground for the new building last month. The 161,000-square-foot facility will include amenities such as climate control, first-rate research labs, and a café — not to mention all new exhibits that will encourage visitors to start exploring our beautiful state.

The new location next to Red Butte Gardens is also prime since it's close to both Hogle Zoo and This is the Place Heritage Park. Sarah says the museum has plenty of on-site parking and will provide a free shuttle directly from TRAX. The facility also offers a great opportunity for synergistic programs. The Utah Museum of Natural History is partnering with the Foothill Cultural District on joint marketing and is also working with the Salt Lake Convention and Visitor's Bureau and now offers a pass visitors can purchase and use to visit as many Utah cultural sites as possible.

The new Utah Museum of Natural History is scheduled to open in early 2011.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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