February 4, 2011

Sixth Floor Galleries to Close for Renovation

A new mammals exhibit is one of several changes planned for the sixth floor of the KU Natural History Museum.

Beginning this month, access to the sixth floor will be closed to the public, and the floor will remain closed for a year. The remaining three floors of exhibits in Dyche Hall will be open to visitors.

Plans call for raising the ceiling height and widening the hallway in one corridor to make way for new exhibits and displays. The renovations will help the museum tell the stories of recent scientific discoveries by KU Biodiversity Institute curators and graduate students. 

New to the sixth floor will be a mammals exhibit made possible by a gift from Benjamin and Margaret Hall of Bellevue, Wash. Benjamin Hall’s father , E. Raymond Hall, was a former director of the museum whose research focused on mammals.

Other improvements include an exhibit case of cleared and stained specimens. Scientists turn these specimens translucent by using a digestive enzyme called Trypsin. To study the animal, they add colored dyes to highlight soft tissues (blue), or to highlight bones and hard tissue (red).

Eagle from the 6th floor
Eagle from the 6th floor


There also will be an exhibit dedicated to the vast biodiversity of species on earth.

The renovations include electrical, heating and air conditioning upgrades made possible by $1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds granted through the Board of Regents.

The KU Natural History Museum, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from noon until 5 p.m.