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Natural History Museum of Utah Announces Opening Dates

Community Can Now Get Involved Through Volunteer Opportunities and Charter Memberships

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Natural History Museum of Utah, at the University of Utah, announces it will dedicate its new home, the Rio Tinto Center, the morning of Thursday, Nov. 17, followed by a festive Community Gala that evening.  The new building will officially open to the general public on Friday, Nov. 18, from 10am. to 5pm

“The new facility will match the depth and richness of our state’s natural history,” said Natural History Museum of Utah Executive Director Sarah George, PhD. “Not only will we showcase extraordinary artifacts unavailable in other places around the world, but we will provide visitors with interactive and stimulating experiences as they explore the world around them.”

The Museum, an active research institution, cares for 1.2 million objects from the state and around the region. The total square footage of the new building is approximately 163,000, and its size and design allows for 50 years of future collection growth.

The Museum is seeking Gold LEED certification for The Rio Tinto Center, which features many “green” elements and is situated on a 17-acre site located above the shoreline of ancient Lake Bonneville. Its unique location makes nature a part of the building’s structure and visitor experience. 

“We are very excited to get the community involved with the Museum as soon as we can,” said Patti Carpenter, Museum public relations director.  “There are some wonderful volunteer opportunities, and we are now recruiting individuals to fill these roles.”

Volunteer Opportunities

Applications are currently being accepted for a variety of volunteer opportunities available to local residents interested in working with the Museum. Positions are available for gallery interpreters (anthropology, biology, paleontology and geology), visitor service volunteers and architecture tour guides. Training is mandatory, and sessions will be offered for each volunteer position during the next two months. The next training is for gallery interpreters and begins this week with several training dates and times available.

A $25 processing fee and background check are required of all volunteers. Interested parties can visit to download an application or call 801.585.7767 with questions or for more information.

Charter Membership

The Natural History Museum of Utah has also released details about its charter membership program. Membership benefits include an invitation to a special members-only preview event, unlimited admission all year, discounts at The Museum Café and The Museum Store and free admission to more than 300 museums and science centers worldwide through the ASTC Passport Program.

The following membership levels are currently available and 10 percent discount is offered through Oct. 28, 2011:

  • Charter Individual Membership - $50
  • Charter Dual Membership - $70
  • Charter Family Membership - $95
  • Charter Naturalist Membership - $250
  • Charter Curator - $500

To receive information about charter membership and other philanthropic opportunities visit, or contact Maren Fisher by calling 801.585.9054 or emailing