Last fall, the American Museum of Natural History opened the dazzling Allison and Roberto Mignone Hall of Gems and Minerals after nearly four years of construction. And this coming winter, another new addition is joining Museum grounds with the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation which will open to the public Friday, February 17, 2023.
While the Hall of the Gems & Minerals was a renovation of an area that hadn’t been updated since the ’70s, this new science hall is actually a completely new building being added to the Museum’s campus.
The 230,000-square-foot space is designed by Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang and will serve as a central hub connecting the Museum’s buildings and “creating a continuous campus across four city blocks, as envisioned more than 150 years ago,” a press release states. It’s symbolic too, highlighting one of the Museum’s founding principles that “all life is connected.”
It will be home to almost 4 million scientific specimens, about 12 percent of the Museum’s collection, and its unique design is created by “spraying structural concrete directly onto rebar without formwork to create fluid walls, bridges, and openings.”
There are tons of awesome new features of the new science center. Here’s a breakdown of what they entail:
Kenneth C. Griffin Exploration Atrium
This four-story-high civic space is the main opening into the Gilder Center. It also connects Central Park West to Columbus Avenue, and opens onto Theodore Roosevelt Park.
Gottesman Research Library and Learning Center
This new Museum library (much bigger than the existing one) that the public can use as an informational resource, for both print and digital. It includes a new scholars’ reading room, exhibition alcove, group study zone, and an adult learning zone, plus will display collections like the Museum’s Rare Book Collection.
Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Collections Core
Three stories of research & collections that showcase the Museum’s collections of “millions of scientific specimens and displays offering insight into the evidence and process of scientific discovery in various types of collections, from fossils to insects.”
Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family Insectarium
The first Museum gallery in more than 50 years completely dedicated to insects, 5,000 square feet large. This includes oversized models of honeybees leading visitors to a massive hive recreation, and one of the world’s largest displays of leafcutter ants (which visitors will pass under a transparent skybridge).
Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium
Open all year long, this 3,000-square-foot space lets visitors mingle with free-flying butterflies!
Invisible Worlds Theater
A 360-degree film screen that “gives visitors a breathtakingly beautiful and imaginative yet scientifically rigorous immersion into the networks of life at all scales.” It will be as large as a hockey rink, 23-foot-high walls showing projections of nature and a mirrored ceiling that makes it feel infinite.
“The Gilder Center uses modern architecture and design, coupled with the most advanced and inventive exhibition and science visualization techniques, to reveal the evidence and processes of science—and, through these, its vital importance and integrity as a force in our society,” Museum president Ellen V. Futter said. “The Gilder Center will offer a thrilling new destination to welcome back New Yorkers and tourists alike.”
The Museum will open to the public Friday, February 17, 2023.