Bean Museum re-energizes goal to ‘protect your planet’

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The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum has reopened after a two-year overhaul with an additional 32,400 square feet of specially designed exhibits expressing the museum’s theme, “Protect Your Planet.”

“The artistic quality of the expansion shows that this is a museum now,” said Larry St. Clair, the museum director, in the visitor’s guide video. “We are trying to display things that could very well happen in nature in a way that is not only beautiful and informative but also spectacular.”

This remodeled building on the north side of campus offers free admission to all ages.

St. Clair said the new aesthetic resonance helps provide audiences with the message that the BYU campus is a place and a people of great science but also people of great faith. The main hallway near the entrance provides the scriptural foundations of the museum’s mission to express people’s responsibility to conserve and care for the planet.

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“The theme of the museum, ‘Protect your Planet,’ has a scriptural foundation where the Lord declares that he’s the Creator, that we are the stewards and we have a responsibility to take care of all of his creatures,” said St. Clair; he further said that part of the museum’s purpose is to “further testify of the Creator.”

The  purpose of the additional space is to create more secular and spiritual learning experiences for the average person. Part of the remodeling was done in an effort to make learning more accessible to all audiences. Instead of mounts and heads with hundred-word labels, St. Clair said they made a commitment to use the space to tell life science stories that the average person would be interested in.

“(We try to) teach people about the patterns and processes of life,” he said. “We try to tell a story.”

The new exhibits include The Boyd K. Packer Gallery, Our Living Planet Life on Top: Apex Predators and The Fred and Sue Morris Bird Gallery, all of which accommodate the 2.4 million specimens in the museum.

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