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Ed Yeates ReportingArchitects and designers say three years from now there will be a sight on Salt Lake's eastern hills like nothing anyone has seen before.
Amazing prime pieces of Utah's natural history keep pouring in to an old building that was once a library. Its walls are bulging. There's simply no room to expand. Thousands and thousands of bones, fossils and artifacts are not even on exhibit, still in storage down in the basement. In fact, a men's room has even been converted into storage space. But wait until you see what's coming!
Sarah George, Executive Director, Utah Museum of Natural History: “This museum is not going to be like any natural history museum that’s ever been built.”
Michael Young, President, University of Utah: “This will be everybody’s museum from Logan to Kanab.”
Though nothing is on the drawing board yet, the vision is clear as designers begin seeking input from everybody. What they want is a new 65 million dollar Utah Museum of Natural History.
From an old worn out library building, a new building will rise on the 17 acres in the foothills east of the University of Utah. A New York architectural firm - the same one that designed the Rose Center for Earth and Space for the American Museum of Natural History - will start from scratch, working with a Utah architect and an exhibit designer to give the state something uniquely its own.
Todd Schliemann, Polshek Partnership Architects: “There will be a moment where Utah will say, ‘That’s our museum, that’s us.’”
Us, meaning all of us. We're being told it's going to be even better than the conceptualizations five years ago. It won't be your traditional stuffy museum, but a gathering place for everybody with unique exhibits, hands on experiences, outreach programs to kids and schools, research labs, and much more.
Todd Schliemann: “That is so cool, I have to go in. And so you’ve captivated them. The hand of the museum has extended through the boundaries of architecture and grabbed them.”
Groundbreaking for the new museum will be next year. The grand opening - 2008.