Morrill Hall reopening to the public March 15

Research News

Dan Moser, March 1, 2024

Morrill Hall reopening to the public March 15


The University of Nebraska State Museum and Mueller Planetarium will reopen to the public on March 15.  

The 97-year-old Morrill Hall has been closed since Oct. 2 for extensive renovations to improve accessibility and better protect its exhibits and research specimens. The renovation was made possible with the passage of LB384, which created a building renewal fund to address a backlog of improvements and deferred maintenance to University of Nebraska facilities. The museum received $9.3 million from the fund to support the largest renovation project in its history.   

Accessibility improvements include widened doorways and bathroom and classroom updates to ensure museum facilities comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements; a new admissions desk installed at the recommended height; and a sink and water supply in the lactation room.   

Renovations will also improve the building’s energy efficiency and stabilize its relative humidity and temperature, both of which are essential to preserve specimens on display for future generations. Those improvements include a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system; new windows; LED lighting installed throughout the facility; and dual-flush toilets to conserve water.   

Susan Weller, museum director, said existing memberships will be extended to account for the closure time. She said the museum staff is “grateful for the patience and trust” of members and stakeholders.  

“Our newly renovated classrooms will help us fulfill our mission to promote discovery of our natural world and world cultures, and also allow us to provide additional services to our members and others,” Weller said.  

Registration is now open for the museum’s new spring break and expanded summer camp offerings. Its education department continued providing virtual learning programs to schools during the closure.  

The reopened facility will include new exhibits and updated signage, content and features for existing ones.  

  • The “Science of Saving Species,” will focus on why animals and other life become endangered and the science behind preventing extinction.   
  • “Elizabeth H. Dolan: Rediscovering a Nebraska Artist” will showcase Dolan’s work and lifelong connection to Morrill Hall.  
  • An exhibit of the new David Easterla collection of Ice Age mammals will be featured on the second floor of Morrill Hall.   
  • Later this spring, the National Geographic Photo Ark exhibit featuring the work of Nebraska-based wildlife photographer Joel Sartore will make Morrill Hall its permanent home. More information is forthcoming.  
  • This summer, Morrill Hall’s third floor will reopen to showcase the new exhibit “TreeHouses: Look Who’s Living in the Trees,” where guests will be able to explore and seek out the abundant wildlife in the trees around us.  

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