University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Yesterday afternoon my daughter and I visited the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. The museum has always been one of her favorites. We have heard that the Museum will be moving in 2018 to the new Biological Sciences Building. This weekend the museum was holding a new exhibit workshop (continues through today). My daughter and I decided to visit the museum and provide our input. Of course, we did not just visit the workshop, my daughter had to explore the whole museum.

The video below is a quick summary of our trip with more information below.

The Museum is Moving!

The University of Michigan is currently building a new Biological Sciences Building. The new building is adjacent to the current building. After it is completed in 2018, the Museum of Natural History will be moving to the new building in late 2018 or early 2019. In preparation for their move, they held an Exhibit Workshop this weekend (it continues through today) to help design a new exhibit. A major feature of the new museum will be the Tree of Life Sculpture and Exhibit. At today’s workshop, they were asking for input on this exhibit. One of the most popular suggestions was that people wanted to be able to either climb or walk through the sculpture.

Ideas for the Tree of Life at UM Museum of Natural History


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My daughter’s one request for the new museum is that the new museum has a planetarium. She was excited to see a planetarium on the plans for the new museum layout that were on display yesterday.

The Museum will be conducting one Exhibit Workshop a month through 2015 each focusing on a different topic. We look forward to returning to provide additional input.

Michigan Wildlife Gallery

The third floor is the Michigan Wildlife Gallery. There are lots of birds, amphibians, and small reptiles on display. My daughter loves the Owl display and noting which species are threatened or endangered. Throughout the museum there are areas with books about various topics. In the Michigan Wildlife Gallery, there is a dedicated reading area with books and benches. (No I didn’t ask her to pose for this, I actually had to drag her away from the books).

UM Museum of Natural History Reading Area Third Floor

Hall of Evolution Gallery

The Hall of Evolution Gallery is on the second floor of the Museum. It is one of my daughter’s favorite areas of the museum. The Hall of Evolution is where you will find dinosaurs, mastodons, and other fossils through time. Yesterday, my daughter was particularly interested in the display of skulls from cro-magnum to homo sapiens.

Natural History Museum Hominidae Skulls

My favorite part of the museum is the Edmontosaurus mural that was painted in the 1950s.

UM Museum of Natural History Edmontosaurus Mural

On the panels in front of the display there are panels showing how the mural would be created today based on the current knowledge of dinosaurs. I love how it shows how our understanding of dinosaurs has changed over time. I hope that they find a way to preserve this when the museum opens in the new location.

Special Activities

The University of Michigan Natural History Museum offers dinosaur tours and demonstrations most weekends throughout the year. On the day we visited, they were offering dinosaur tours at 2p and a cow’s eye dissection demonstration at 3p. We had arrived to the museum early and had other activities planned so we did not stay for the dissection.

Visiting the Museum

The University of Michigan Natural History Museum is located on the campus of University of Michigan on North University Avenue. The museum is open from 9a-5p everyday except Sunday when it is open from noon-5p. Admission to the museum is free. There is a suggested donation of $6/person.

Public Transit is very convenient to the Natural History Museum and is a great choice, particularly on weekdays during the school year. When we drive, I usually park in the visitor lot at Palmer Commons unless I have my husband’s UM Parking pass to utilize. Free parking is available on Sundays on the street and in most parking garages.

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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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