U, Science Museum partner in new exhibits for community

The partnership will provide the U with a venue to show its research to the public.

by Mehgan Lee

University President Bob Bruininks announced a formal partnership between the University and the Science Museum of Minnesota at a luncheon yesterday.

The partnership has been planned for several years,

said G. David Tilman, a Regents professor at the University. It will provide the University

with a venue to communicate its research to the public, he said.

“The Science Museum has proven to be very effective at that communication,” he said.

The University must educate the public on its research in order to get grants, said Dan Gilchrist, a staff person in the president’s office. The partnership will help ensure those stipulations are met, he said.

Bruininks said the partnership is necessary to advance knowledge and connect it to the public good.

“It will help the University reach an expanded audience of young people, teachers and the general public,” he said.

The University recently collaborated with the museum on the Big Backyard Exhibit, set to open Saturday.

“The Big Backyard is the museum’s outdoor exhibit hall,” said Patrick Hamilton, the director of environmental sciences at the museum.

It includes a miniature golf course and a hands-on demonstration of landscape processes and river dynamics, he said. The museum worked closely with the University’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory on its creation, he said.

The museum contributed $3 million and the University contributed $1 million to the exhibit, Hamilton said.

Despite the financial constraints the University is now experiencing, Bruininks believes the costs are worthwhile.

“We need to keep investing in areas known for their strength, even in times of financial trouble,” he said. “I have a deep commitment to keeping the University’s research and education strong.”