|Location||St. Paul, Minnesota|
|Architect||Perkins + Will|
As collections and visitors grew over time, Minnesota’s Bell Museum (formerly known as the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History) moved from its original Minneapolis location of more than a century to a five-acre site on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. The thoughtful design of the new facility tells the story of Minnesota’s natural history – inside and out. The complex, which features locally sourced, thermally modified timber on its exterior, houses four high-tech exhibit areas across 90,000 square feet. Inside the state-of-the-art venue is a first-of-its-kind, 120-seat dome planetarium and more than 100 wildlife dioramas, along with numerous educational spaces, learning laboratories and an expansive lobby area that also functions as a private event space. Featured throughout the building’s interior and exterior is architectural railing custom-engineered by Trex Commercial Products. Starting in the lobby, point-supported Post Rail with glass infill flanks the monumental staircase with stainless steel handrails custom curved to follow the curvature of the interior architecture. The sleek, modern railing system creates a seamless flow from the main floor to the upstairs exhibits and out across the second-floor outdoor terrace, while delivering unobstructed views of the surrounding campus and Minnesota landscape.