Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cabinet of Curiosities

On a recent trip south to civilization, Scott and I made time to show Jack one our favorite Twin Cities spots: The Bell Museum of Natural History. Located on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota, the museum is a great place to visit on a winter day.

It's hard for me to say what part of the museum is my favorite. I absolutely love the two floors of dioramas depicting Minnesota habitats. The dioramas were constructed between the 1920s and 1940s and many feature the work of painter Francis Lee Jacques.

It was fun introducing Jack to work similar to what Scott has done, so we also enjoyed the temporary exhibit illustrating the production of the dioramas:

Jack knew all about natural history museums from Curious George before we visited the Bell. As a result, he really wanted to see the dinosaur bones. The museum doesn't actually have any of those, but they do have a Touch and See room with lots of other bones, fossil casts and hands-on activities.

We must have spent about two hours in there!

The Touch and See Room also has a gorgeous wood and glass cabinet that just called out to the former museum registrar/curator in me:

During our visit we learned that the museum may be moving to the St. Paul campus in the near future, so I recommend visiting before they leave their funky old art-deco home.

The museum is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - Sunday, and admission is free on Sundays.

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