Wednesday, January 7, 2015

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM OF UTAH

On the last day of our trip to Utah over the holidays, we visited the Natural History Museum of Utah, which sits in the foothills of the Wasatch range east of the University of Utah campus.  The museum is only a few years old and both the building and the exhibits have a fresh look to them.  Although the museum doesn't match up with Chicago's Field Museum, in my view it easily outshines its counterparts in Milwaukee and Denver.

Its setting is superb, as it faces the Salt Lake Valley to the west, providing a spectacular view of the snowcapped Oquirrh Range to the southwest of the city.  Here are a couple of shots of that view, the first a shot I took outside of the museum.


I like the following shot better, which I took from inside the museum, as it provides a better perspective for the overall scene.


Utah is prime dinosaur country, and their fossils play a central role in the museum.  Here are a few of the shots that I got.




Note how the eyeball of this last guy was encased in protective bone.  

These "fossils" are, for the most part, faithful reproductions, but I didn't mind that, as the museum also included some actually fossils in controlled settings.  The exhibits included a number of clear and well designed explanations to help educate the interested patron.  They also included this "artist's conception of the head of one of the dinosaurs.


If nothing else, it was a fun speculation.

Of course, the museum had exhibits in other natural history areas, including this ceremonial mask . . . 


. . . and this sculpture of a horse, which was part of a larger horse exhibit.


And then there was me being me, trying to capture some of the building's architecture and amenities as abstracts.




Overall, I was very much impressed by the museum.  Perhaps that is in part a function of the fact that my interests favor paleontology over, say, cultural history, and perhaps it is in part a function of the fact that the Utah museum is quite new and isn't populated with a number of really tired exhibits, such as dioramas, as is its Milwaukee counterpart.  

John

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