LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Natural History Museum, part of the KU Biodiversity Institute, will reopen to the public Thursday, May 6. Public hours will be 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Advance reservations are encouraged due to reduced capacity, which aligns with current health and safety guidelines.
The museum will feature two new exhibits in addition to longtime favorites such as the 45-foot-long Bunker mosasaur fossil, the living Paleo Garden and others. “The New Grotesques” temporary exhibit gives visitors a unique opportunity to view eight newly carved grotesques, commissioned to replace the originals that resided on Dyche Hall for over 117 years. The new grotesques, created by local master stone carvers Laura and Karl Ramberg, are on display in the Panorama gallery, along with sketches and scale models from the artists. A short documentary video is also available that provides further insights into the project. The new carvings will be placed on top of the building at a future date. The original carvings were removed in 2017 due to damage from the elements and are now on view on the museum’s sixth floor.
Visitors can also traverse hundreds of millions of years of evolution in a new permanent exhibit, “KU Paleontology Up Close,” on the museum’s third floor. Plant and animal fossils, including rarely seen small specimens, illustrate evolutionary changes through time and highlight several KU research discoveries from the Biodiversity Institute’s Paleontology research divisions.
The museum’s public programming will remain virtual at this time and include two opportunities this weekend:
Days of Creativity, in partnership with the Spencer Museum of Art
1-4 p.m. May 7-8, Spencer Museum of Art
Visitors to the Spencer Museum of Art can pick up a free KU Natural History Museum Activity Kit that explores evolution using evolutionary trees.
Free Pop Up Science Kits
Noon-4 p.m. May 8, KU Natural History Museum
Staff will be outside giving away free science kits to be used during the upcoming virtual Pop Up Science – Symmetry in the Natural World event at 10 a.m. May 15 on Facebook. The free kits include materials and instructions for making cyanotype prints with specimens from nature.
For questions or assistance in making advance reservations to visit the KU Natural History Museum, please contact Visitor Services at 785-864-4450.
Top image: "The New Grotesques" exhibit features eight new grotesques carved by Laura and Karl Ramberg as well as scale models and sketches used during the project.
Right image: The "KU Paleontology Up Close" exhibit focuses on small fossils illustrating evolutionary changes over hundreds of millions of years.