American Museum of Natural History extension: New addition for visitors will open in 2020
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Manhattan has unveiled details of its new Gilder Center, a 235,000-square-foot project that will feature immersive exhibitions, a new Insectarium and Butterfly Vivarium and a theater that will offer a counterpart to its famous Hayden Planetarium.
The Gilder Center sets out to reveal modern science to visitors of all ages, spotlighting the museum‘s collection of more than 33 million specimens and artifacts amassed over more than 145 years. A 21,000-square-foot, glass-walled Collections Core will serve as one of the centre’s key features and will house 3.9 million specimens, with observation areas allowing visitors to see research under way.
The Central Exhibition Hall will open onto Theodore Roosevelt Park, which will be redesigned with new planted islands of mature pin oak and English elm trees that will be protected and conserved by the museum.
A 5,000-square-foot Insectarium featuring live insects, specimens and digital displays will be the museum’s first gallery devoted to insects in more than 50 years, while the butterfly collection will be visible from the Central Exhibition Hall and will offer a year-round living exhibit allowing visitors to encounter butterflies in habitats such as a pond and a meadow.
In the 9,520-square foot Invisible World immersive theatre, authentic science visualizations will highlight cutting-edge technologies such as scanning electron microscopes, CT scanners and high-speed cameras.
Designed by Studio Gang Architects, the Gilder Center will connect new and existing galleries, creating nearly 30 connections across 10 existing buildings. Concrete walls with fluid openings will create a continuous space informed by the natural flows of glaciers, canyons and riverbeds.
When the new centre opens to the public, visitors will be able to access the Insectarium, Central Exhibition Hall, Research Library and Learning Center, and Collection Core with a general-admission, pay-as-you-wish ticket. The Invisible Worlds Theater and Butterfly Vivarium will be accessible at an extra charge.
The AMNH currently attracts about 5 million visitors a year. The Gilder Center’s expected 2020 opening is timed to conclude the museum’s 150th-anniversary celebrations.