Bean Museum turns 40

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The BYU Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. To some, the Bean Museum is just a tourist attraction or a place for parents to take their kids. In reality, the Bean Museum means more than that to BYU’s history.

Mark Philbrick, Keith Judd
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Monte L. Bean, President Spencer W. Kimball, President N. Eldon Tanner and President Dallin H. Oaks tour the Bean Life Science Museum at its dedication on March 28, 1978. (Mark A. Philbrick)

The Bean Museum was first opened to the public in 1978, according to the Bean Museum’s Visitors Guide. Since then, its vast collections of animal and plant life have offered many opportunities for students and professors to conduct world research.

The Bean Museum houses some of the largest collections of plant and wildlife samples in all the world.

“There is huge research potential here. Many of the species we have haven’t even been named yet. There’s opportunity for professors and students alike to study and name new species,” Bean Museum’s insect collection manager Shawn Clark said.

Click here to learn more about the Bean Museum’s vast research collections.

According to the visitors guide, the various collections it houses are used to “celebrate the role of Jesus Christ as Creator, while enhancing student learning and mentoring.”

Of course, the museum isn’t just about scientific studies, it’s purpose is for public enjoyment as well. The museum offers a variety of events for visitors of all ages, and everything is free. From live animal shows to realistic exhibits, there are many reasons people visit.

In addition, the Bean Museum is also a place for children to explore the world in a hands-on way, with play areas, scavenger hunts and games for children to enjoy. For ideas on exhibits to see, visit Top 4 must-see exhibits at the Bean Museum.

“The Bean Museum is awesome. I went there when I was little with my family all the time,” BYU sophomore Davis Johnson said. “I bet I’ll take my kids there too some day once I have them, and that’s pretty cool.”

In 2012, a fire destroyed much of the Bean Museum. The museum was remodeled and reopened to the public in 2014. Matt Meese from Studio C, who worked at the Bean Museum while he was a student at BYU, posted a video in 2014 on Brigham Young University’s YouTube Channel showcasing some of the new exhibits.

The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum is an important part of BYU’s history and an important part of its identity today. For more information about the museum such as operating hours, location and event schedule, visit the Bean Museum’s official website.

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