Planetarium construction at the new Bell Museum begins

The new Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus will soon boast a one-of-a-kind planetarium.

Lauren Otto

Construction of the new Bell Museum’s planetarium dome on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus began Tuesday.

According to a University press release, the 12,000-pound dome structure will be installed over the next 45 days. The projection screen panels’ invisible seams are a “cutting edge” form of technology that will make the planetarium “the first of its kind.”

Andria Waclawski, the Bell Museum communications manager, said the planetarium will be able to show everything from a tour of the brain or heart to the flight of a monarch while it is in migration.

“The technical capabilities are endless,” she said. “The ability to highlight so much more of the really incredible research projects that are ongoing at the University of Minnesota is probably one of the biggest areas of excitement.”

The Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018 and will be the first public planetarium in the Twin Cities in over 15 years.

As construction continues, private financial support will continue to fund programming resources and other planetarium experiences.