As for materials, the copper for the exterior was donated by a museum sponsor, Kennecott Copper Mine, which is located on the other side of the Salt Lake valley. Fly ash was used in the concrete, which not only helped reduce the impact of the material, but also gave it a wonderful velvety color. Stone removed during excavation was reused in gabion baskets to create retaining walls around the building. Recycled and other local materials were also used extensively for the building’s construction.
The layout of the exhibition space gives the impression that you just went on a hike as you traverse and zig-zag back and forth. Daylighting in museums is a tricky subject as UV light can damage precious artifacts, but key window placements were created to allow visitors views of the surrounding mountains and let in daylight where it was safe. Other spaces of the museum, like the canyon and conference rooms enjoy ample daylighting.
At the end of the tour, you’ll feel as if you went on a journey and likely want to go back – whether to learn more or just to play. And while we know a lot about our history, geography, and heritage, there is still so much more to discover and learn. The Utah Natural History Museum is dedicated to all of this and should surely be a stop if you ever visit Salt Lake City. When questioned as to what his favorite part of the museum’s collection was, Schliemann told us, “The land of Utah is actually the most spectacular part of the collection.”
Images ©Bridgette Meinhold