First Reset Happening for Massive NHMU Display

Sep 8, 2016

For the first time since the Natural History Museum of Utah opened in 2011, officials are removing all 600 artifacts in the 36' tall display case on the museum’s main level and reworking the exhibit.

Tim Lee is the Senior Exhibit Designer. He says it’s very important that visitors see these precious artifacts up close and from a distance.

“And we have to maintain them and protect them for future generations and for researchers. So some of the material within the case is very light sensitive and as you can see within this space we have a lot of natural light coming in; it gives part of the beautiful ambience of this space that we call the Canyon," Lee says, "but it also has potential to harm some of the objects. So after nearly 5 years we’re returning some of the objects to collections and we saw that as an opportunity to revision the wall and add new objects to represent the diversity of our collections.”

The crew of exhibit service specialists at the museum have all been trained by a consultant from the Smithsonian Institute but this is the first time they’ve had to de-install their work. Exhibit preparator Jeffery Leonard is among the crew.

“We’ve just got to work really slow, work from the bottom up, and then install from the top back down because if anything cut loose or we had an accident and it fell on a specimen or an artifact, that would be a big problem,” says Leonard.

The project is expected to be completed in November. Museum visitors can see the process through a huge, semi-clear screen on the outside of the display glass.