Campus museum renovations underway

One day it was a group of senior citizens from a nursing home. The next, it was hundreds of kids from a local elementary school. Both groups were on campus last week and both had the same destination—ULM’s Museum of Natural History.

The museum on campus has been changing recently. In fact, these next couple of weeks will see big changes to the museum on campus.

“Everything won’t be new, but we’ll have something—a new display—added every few months,” said Kim Tolson, the museum’s director.

In the spring of 2019, it was announced that the museum would be undergoing some major renovations. A year later, those renovations are still ongoing with many big changes scheduled for the museum in the following weeks.

Walking through the expanded museum grounds you see fresh paint on the walls and new display cases waiting for their content.

Located in Hannah Hall, the Museum of Natural History has been on campus for almost 60 years.

The museum, established in 1962, displays zoology and plant specimens, geoscience exhibits from around the world, rocks and minerals.

Throughout this whole process, Tolson said students and visitors alike are welcome to come visit the museum.

Now, they might have to sidestep an unfinished display or two, but they are still welcome.One of her goals for the museum going forward is to offer visitors new and everchanging displays.

Last time Tolson spoke to The Hawkeye, she said there wasn’t a clear date for the renovations to be complete but now she said fans of the museum should expect something sooner rather than later.

“We want the STEAM room open by the end of the semester,” Tolson said.

THE STEAM room is one of the biggest planned additions to the museum. Many people have heard of STEM programs, STEM meaning science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEAM is the same concept but with the addition of the arts as well.

Another big addition is the augmented reality sandbox which is said to be arriving by the end of February, according to Tolson.

The majority of the museum materials will continue being displayed on the first floor of Hanna Hall, with some minor display cases and collections being housed on the second and third floors of Hannah. While some parts of the expansion end, others begin.