Programming at Rio Tinto Center Engages Visitors

Gallery interpreters, Museum theater offer opportunities to dig deeper into science

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY – Engaging and dynamic, the programming at the Natural History Museum of Utah’s new home, the Rio Tinto Center, will provide a science-based, resource-rich interaction that will create a new experience with each visit. On Friday, November 18, the Natural History Museum will open up its new home to the public, unveiling a suite of new programming that enriches the expansive galleries.

The gallery interpreter program will be the most noticeable programming touchpoint in the Museum. “Whether they are leading a hands-on activity, answering your questions, or delving deeper into the stories Museum objects tell, gallery interpreters will help you discover first-hand the science and cultures at the heart of the Museum,” explains Public Programs Manager Lisa Thompson.

Among the new programs visitors may encounter are a variety of traditional Native American games; analyzing more than 30 different animal skulls using calipers and hand lenses; learning to sort fossils from stones; and building some of Utah’s iconic land formations in sand by recreating the forces of nature that sculpted them.

The Museum continues its foray into Museum theater with the introduction of Brine Fly Bill. An impromptu theater experience, the program is less about a script and more about a unique interaction with visitors and bringing the Lake (Great Salt Lake) gallery to life.

“This Museum continues to pursue creative ways to educate people about ecology, and the Lake provides us with that opportunity to create an interactive and educational experience,” noted Gallery Programs Coordinator and creator of Brine Fly Bill Paulmichael Maxfield. 

“The Great Salt Lake is incredibly unique, and we want our visitors to learn about this amazing part of Utah’s landscape. We’re hoping Brine Fly Bill will help people become more familiar the Great Salt Lake and that it encourages people to visit it.” 

Several of the Museum’s programs that began at the old home will carry over to the new building as well. Science Movie Night is currently ongoing, and after the New Year, several more popular programs will return. Visitors will still be able to get face-to-face with real research and real science with Scientist in the Spotlight, Bug Brigade will return to share their live arthropods with patrons, and The Nature of Things lecture series will also continue pursue dialogue to engage the community.

The Museum is an active research institution that cares for over 1.2 million objects.  It provides unique natural history experiences to Utah residents and tourists through traveling and permanent exhibits, special events and other programs.  The Museum also offers a variety of outreach programs to communities and schools throughout Utah, reaching every school district in the state annually.