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Bell Museum of Natural History celebrates 140th birthday March 1

February 22, 2012

What: Bell Birthday Party. Birthday cake for the first 140 museum visitors beginning at 2 p.m., and a special appearance by Goldy Gopher
When: 2 p.m. Thursday, March 1
Where: Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. SE, Minneapolis

Thursday, March 1 marks the 140th birthday of the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History, the official natural history museum of the state of Minnesota. The public is invited to join in the celebration at the Bell Museum during the afternoon or as part of the evening’s BIG programming, a series of special events held on the first Thursday each month.

On March 1, 1872, the Minnesota Legislature approved “an act to provide for a geological and natural history survey of the state” with the added provision that “natural history and geological specimens be prepared and a museum to be established at the university.”

One hundred and forty years later, the Bell continues this legacy through its mission to discover, document and understand nature, and promote informed stewardship of the natural world.

“Since 1872, the Bell Museum of Natural History collections have documented our state’s biological diversity, and its artistic public displays have educated us on environmental issues,” says museum director Susan Weller. “Rather than rest on our laurels, we strive to be a place where creativity will flourish in the sciences and arts--a cradle of innovation. Just last year, we added a portable planetarium to our educational programs and embraced the disciplines of astrophysics and planetary sciences. It’s exciting to think about all that lies ahead for the museum.”

Thursday's celebration will include events open to the public. Birthday cake will be provided for the first 140 visitors beginning at 2 p.m., at which time a brief presentation will be made, along with a visit from University of Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher. Those unable to attend during the afternoon can enjoy birthday cake beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Bell Museum is part of the University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. For details, visit

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