At first glance, you might think you’ve stumbled across a canyon on the Upper West Side. It’s actually the Griffin Atrium, a Columbus Avenue gateway to a whole new world within the American Museum of Natural History.
“All these openings go to different galleries, different experiences,” said Jeanne Gang, a renowned architect whose firm Studio Gang designed the project.
The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation – a 230,000 square foot extension of the museum – opens on February 17, 2023. Museum president Ellen Futter calls it a building and an experience transformers for visitors from here and around the world.
What do you want to know
- The American Museum of Natural History opens its Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation on February 17, 2023
- The Gilder Center is a 230,000 square foot addition
- The center will be connected to existing galleries on the museum campus
- There will be an insect gallery and habitat for up to 80 species of free-flying butterflies
“It’s an opportunity and an offer to explore, make discoveries and really go through the whole museum in a completely different way,” Futter said.
The Gilder Center will feature three floors of exhibits showcasing anything and everything from the museum’s extensive collections. There is a space for learning and education, an insect gallery and another where people can hang out with up to 80 species of free-flying butterflies.
Ralph Appelbaum’s firm designed the exhibits with the museum’s exhibits department. Appelbaum and Associates has been designing galleries at the museum for over 40 years.
“It was a really overwhelming experience because instead of working in a box, we’re working in an amazing organic canyon that allows us to do exhibits that don’t have doors,” Appelbaum said.
As if that weren’t enough, Gilder Center will also present Invisible Worlds, a 360-degree experience that reveals that all life on Earth is truly connected. Futter said the center comes at a time when there is an urgent need for people to trust science.
“It’s delivering results that help us solve the most pressing issues of our time, whether it’s the environment or COVID-19, or something we don’t yet know,” Futter said. .