State of the Art Changes Made to The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Museum of Natural History Museum has been working on upgrades and significant changes, making it a state-of-the-art museum for Cleveland to enjoy. The features will open to the public on Wednesday, December 7th. WTAM 1100 was able to get a sneak peek at some of the new things the Cleveland Museum of Natural History offers.

The Museum's new temporary Birdly Exhibit lets you fly among dinosaurs or as an insect. I was looking forward to trying The Birdly Exhibit, which did not disappoint. Usually, VR headsets are not easy to wear if you have glasses, but this exhibit is different. The headset fits over your glasses. The graphics look natural, and you feel you are flying among dinosaurs. The quicker you flap your wings, the faster you go, you feel the full effect with the fan at the front of the simulator, and the quicker you go, the faster the "wind" blows. If you are a fan of flying, this is an excellent exhibit for you to visit.

Photo: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Museum staff seemed most enthusiastic about the new learning centers and lab equipment in The Smead Discovery Center—Presented by PNC and The world-class Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium. A child's experience will be the best the museum has to offer.

This Wednesday is when you can see the new features and upgrades in person, the museum is offering free admission. You can see more details in the tweet below.

Things for Parents and Guardians Should Know.

  • Every Sunday, Cleveland and East Cleveland residents can free visit the Museum during the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Community Days.
  • The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a proud participant in the national Museums for All initiative, sponsored locally by Paul Lincoln and Kathy Toderick, through which visitors can buy admission tickets for $1 per ticket for up to four tickets by presenting their SNAP EBT.
  • The newly Improved Educational Spaces, the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Community Space will serve as the main lobby of the Museum's expanded Education Wing. The Community Space features an enhanced, multipurpose space with state-of-the-art technology that can double as a classroom or a lab.

Photo: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

New Areas, Notable Upgrades, and Features

Smead Discovery Center—Presented by PNC

  • Located on the Museum’s lower level, this space is designed with different learning styles in mind. Guests of all ages will enjoy the wonders of science and nature together as they dig for dinosaurs, take an up-close look at Museum specimens, design constellations, and more. The new facility will serve young children ages seven and under, including babies and toddlers, by encouraging discovery and observation through play. Museum educators will deliver newly designed programming with rotating themes and hands-on activities. These programs will engage young learners in the natural sciences and leave them inspired by a world of infinite possibilities.

3-D Movies for the First Time Ever in Murch Auditorium

  • The newly revamped Murch Auditorium will feature 3-D movies through a partnership with D3D Cinema, a creator of immersive cinema, VR experiences, and experiential storytelling through first-to-market technology.

Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium

  • The world-class Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium is reopening with a software upgrade and new seating that allows for more customized and creative configurations. The Museum’s astronomy team is eager to share the wonders of the night sky through the planetarium’s newest program, Unfolding the Universe, which highlights NASA’s latest engineering phenomenon—the James Webb Space Telescope.

Every Space Is an Event Space

  • Whether visitors look forward to spending time with family, friends, coworkers, or clients, the new and reimagined spaces at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History are designed to accommodate the ultimate special-event experience. With day and evening private-event options, guests are invited to dine among the works of art in Corning Gallery, give presentations in Murch Auditorium, hold breakout sessions in state-of-the-art classrooms, and include the planetarium in their party plans.
Natural History Museum ribbon cutting

Photo: Photography: Daniel Milner

About the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Transformation Project

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History broke ground in June 2021 on a $150 million transformation project, which features an expansion, a complete reimagining of its campus and all its exhibits, and new public spaces. This bold pioneering is a new model for natural history museums that will place visitors at the center of the Museum experience—allowing visitors to understand better their connection with the natural world and the relevance of science to their daily lives. The transformed space will reflect the Museum’s world-class assets while serving as a trusted community resource that prioritizes accessibility and engagement. The Transforming the World of Discovery campaign has raised more than $121 million for this project. This project will expand the Museum’s building and outdoor visitor areas to more than 375,000 square feet. The Museum appreciates the generous support from community members, corporations, foundations, and government grants that have helped to make this transformation a reality.

Natural History Museum ribbon cutting

Photo: Photography: Daniel Milner

About the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History illuminates the world and inspires visitors to engage with the natural forces that shape their lives. Since its founding in 1920, the Museum has pioneered scientific research to advance knowledge across diverse fields of study and used its outstanding collections, which encompass more than 5 million artifacts and specimens, to deepen the public’s understanding of the dynamic connections between humans and nature. Through its Natural Areas Program, the Museum stewards 12,000 acres of protected ecosystems across northern Ohio. A community gathering place, educational center, and research institution, the Museum is a vital resource that serves Cleveland and the nation. For more information, visit

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