Monte L. Bean museum reopens at BYU

Credit: Jason Swensen
Credit: Jason Swensen
Credit: Jason Swensen


Located just a few steps inside the east entrance of the recently re-opened Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum is a passage of scripture that serves as a guiding statement at the popular BYU facility:

“But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee: and the fowls of the air and they shall tell thee” (Job 12:7).

The vast collections of preserved beasts and birds found inside the museum — which recently re-opened following a massive reconstruction effort — do indeed double as life science instructors.

Museum visitors of all ages, from wide-eyed youngsters to seasoned academics, will marvel at the wonder of God’s creations on view inside this treasure trove of the natural world.

The museum closed for some 18 months during the construction period. Loyal patrons likely missed their visits to its dramatic displays or, perhaps, one of the live-animal family home evening shows.

Now the museum is open again — and it’s been worth the wait.

The remodeled museum includes three stories of exhibitions featuring thousands of creatures and critters that walk, crawl, swim or fly. Many of the displays show the animals behaving as they would in the wild — so parents should know that predatory animals are often depicted taking down their prey.

A towering pair of giraffes and an African elephant stand as sentinels on opposite ends of the museum.

Visitors entering the museum from the main doors pass through stone columns that would feel at home on the set of an Indiana Jones movie.

While the improvements at the museum will trigger the “wow” reflex for visitors, its mission remains the same:

“These collections are used to celebrate the role of Jesus Christ as Creator, while enhancing student learning and mentoring and promoting faculty teaching and research.”

A highlight of the refurbished museum is the addition of the Boyd K. Packer Gallery on the main floor. The permanent exhibition features the wildlife artwork of President Packer, anchored by several life-sized bird wood carvings. More than 1,000 pieces of art by President Packer are stored at the museum (see June 1, 2014, issue of the Church News).

The improved museum will continue to draw thousands of visitors from outside the BYU campus. Some 60,000 school-age children tour its galleries each year. But the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum continues to function as a massive classroom for BYU students and researchers.

Three new teaching spaces have been added to the building. Museum employees are also thrilled with a new, massive cargo elevator that allows for easy movement of objects between floors.

The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum is located on the northeast side of the BYU campus at 645 E. Phillips Lane. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday. Admission to the museum is free.

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