BYU Bean Life Science Museum expanding, making room for Boyd K. Packer art exhibit

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The Bean Life Science Museum is expanding its walls by 30,000 feet, making way for new interactive exhibits without losing any if its original charm.

The museum expansion project has been in the works for about 10 years and has raised $10 million in donations to fund the renovations. The changes will bring three major benefits to the museum: safer storage for museum collections, a consolidated work space in the basement and new exhibits.

Wood carving by Boyd K. Packer, courtesy of Pres. Boyd K. Packer.

“We’re excited about not only the increased space but consolidating into one continuous functional work space,” said Larry St. Clair, Director of the Bean Life Science Museum.

The Bean Life Science Museum is a center for research and education. Exhibit designers hope to make the museum an exciting place for kids and families to learn about the world around them.

“We’re improving upon things that we already have to … help kids to learn more about life and science in a new way,” said Katie Hall, who assists in making exhibits.

These exhibits aim to help visitors understand their role as earth’s stewards and learn to responsibly conserve its resources.

“(We’re) trying to focus on life on earth and the responsibility we have to care for it,” said Katy Knight, education administrator and a chair member of the exhibits committee.

In addition to teaching visitors about their role among God’s creations, the Bean Life Science Museum showcases the creations of the Savior. The museum strives to celebrate the Creator and his creations with all who visit.

St. Clair believes in the objectives of the museum. He explained how the original exhibits will still be incorporated and expects the renovations to help fulfill their objectives.

“(The objective is to) see old, familiar friends displayed in new ways that teaches (people) about conservation and biodiversity while celebrating the role of the Creator,” St. Clair said.

Among the many exhibits to be introduced when the museum re-opens is a gallery featuring a collection of donated artwork by President Boyd K. Packer. President Packer is a member of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“His whole life he’s done a lot of nature-related art,” Knight said.

The museum has inherited a variety of President Packer’s artwork, including paintings and exquisite wood carvings featuring animals and nature.

“Birds are one of his favorite subjects. Sometimes he would use specimens from the museum to make sure his artwork was accurate,” St. Clair said.

The staff is excited about this new exhibit and feels President Packer’s art beautifully represents the detail in God’s creations. They are also happy about the opportunity to recognize President Packer in this gallery.

“His exhibit will be located on the main level, front and center on the expansion space,” St. Clair said. “We get to honor President Packer … most donations were given in honor of him.”

Construction should be complete by Oct. 2013 so that the museum can re-open the following spring.

“The goal is to welcome people back and recognize (the museum) still but realize that it is even better,” St. Clair said.

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