Throughout the 90 years the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (UMMNH) has occupied its current home in the Ruthven Museums Building, hundreds of thousands of people have admired the beautiful Albert Kahn-designed rotunda, stood in awe of dinosaur and mastodon skeletons, or learned about the night sky in the planetarium.
Since the announcement of the Museum’s move to the new Biological Sciences Building (BSB), opening in 2019, many people have shared heartfelt stories with staff. Now the Museum wants to capture memories of alumni, donors, student docents, and other visitors as part of their Museum Memories campaign.
“Whether you came with your grandparents, on a school field trip or you first discovered the Museum as a U-M student, we want to hear about it,” said Amy Harris, UMMNH Director. “We want to discover the many ways the UMMNH has impacted lives.”
The first memory shared was from Sharon S. who remembers discovering the Museum when she was 8-years-old back in the 1940’s, and how she and her sister climbed up to sit on the iconic pumas where they were “whooping like cowboys!”
Dr. Ron Tykoski, Director of the Paleontology Lab, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, credits his career as a paleontologist to his childhood visits to the “Exhibit Museum” (former name of the UMMNH). He shared a U-M freshman memory of how he was first in line to become a student docent at the Museum.
MJ (Gray) Tykoski recalls spotting Ron at docent training in 1990 and how “...he eventually proposed to me on the 3rd floor where the bald eagle used to be.
”In addition to the website dedicated to collecting memories, there is an extension to the temporary exhibit, Museum on the Move, where memories can be left. Later this year, UMMNH will participate in the University’s Bicentennial Festival where visitors can record video memories.
At the conclusion of this program, several memories will be selected to become part of the Museum’s official archives at the U-M Bentley Historical Library.
Anyone who wants to share a memory can do so on the Museum Memories website, on the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts (#MuseumMemories), email it to MuseumMemories@umich.edu or mail it to: Museum Memories, U-M Museum of Natural History, 1109 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079.