Delaware Museum of Nature and Science opens to the public May 23

After an extensive $10.8 million, 17-month renovation project, the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science opens to the public on Monday, May 23. The museum, formerly the Delaware Museum of Natural History, closed at the end of 2020 for the project. All of the exhibits – many in place since 1972 – were removed and the walls were taken down to the studs. Installation of the new exhibits has been ongoing since the end of 2021.

“We’ve completely shed that dusty, old museum perception. The Delaware Museum of Nature and Science is dynamic, engaging, interactive, relevant, and modern,” Executive Director Halsey Spruance said. “Our focus is on what we know about nature and science, why it matters to us, and what we can do to protect the environment. There’s a huge emphasis on how we are all connected and how our actions matter.”

Grand Opening Weekend Events:  

Friday, May 20, 10 a.m. Ribbon cutting and museum tours for invited guests and the media

Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Member-Only Preview, sponsored by M&T Bank | Wilmington Trust. Includes special tours about the renovation process and new exhibits from staff members throughout the weekend. Open to DelMNS members and members of partnering museums: Delaware Art Museum, Hagley Museum & Library, Mt. Cuba, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, and Tyler Arboretum. Admission is free for members, pre-registration for timed tickets is requested.

Monday, May 23, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Open to the public. Timed tickets will be available at in early May.

Visit Information: The museum will be open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission price is $12.95 for ages 3 and up, $3.95 for toddlers ages 1-2, and free for infants under 12 months. There is a $1 discount for tickets purchased in advance online. Admission is free for DelMNS members. For the first year, members of Delaware Art Museum, Hagley Museum & Library, Mt. Cuba, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, and Tyler Arboretum also receive free general admission.

New galleries include:

  • Regional Journey Gallery: Stroll across a giant floor map of the state and explore deciduous and mixed forests, the Bald Cypress Swamp, a saltmarsh, dunes, and the Delaware Bay. Designated areas such as the Fair Play Foundation Field Station and the DuPont Research Headquarters provide an opportunity to learn what is happening in our local region and beyond.
  • Alison K. Bradford Global Journey Gallery: A giant floor map of the world occupies the center of this gallery, surrounded by three land-based ecosystems, including a tropical rainforest, Arctic tundra and African savanna, along with three different ocean environments (shallow, mid-water, and deep). The ecosystems demonstrate nature’s diversity, the interdependency of life, and how humans play the biggest role in change.
  • Ellice & Rosa McDonald Foundation PaleoZone: Meet the creatures that lived in the Mid-Atlantic during the Cretaceous Period. Skeletons of the fearsome Dryptosaurus dinosaur, the flying “bat lizard” Nyctosaur, and the aquatic giant Mosasaur are joined by smaller Cretaceous specimens.

Other new exhibit spaces include the Tree of Life in the atrium with a visual interpretation of the Tree of Life, depicting the evolution of organisms over billions of years and the relationships between them in increasingly diverse branches. Adjacent to the Atrium, the Bill & Denise Spence Discovery Gallery offers rotating, hands-on exhibits. Opening exhibits include Delaware Mineralogical Society, First State Robotics and the University of Delaware, in addition to the museum’s Collections & Research Division.

New amenities include the Rest, Relax, Recharge café with prepackaged sandwiches, salads and snacks from Jamestown Catering, along with coffee, water, and other beverages. The Delaware Community Foundation Respite Room is a dedicated, calming space for visitors with sensory challenges and developmental disorders to take a break, as well as being a quiet and private option for nursing parents.

In addition to the new galleries and public spaces, additional parts of the project included lighting and sound systems, installation of a fire alarm and fire suppression system, new paving, HVAC system, refreshed meeting, event and temporary exhibit spaces, and renovated restrooms.

Delaware Museum of Nature and Science Project Partners

  • Strategic Planning           Schultz and Williams
  • Project Manager             Aegis Property Group
  • Exhibit Designer             Reich&Petch
  • General Contractor        Bancroft Construction
  • Architect                         JacobsWyper
  • Exhibit Fabricator           Kubik Maltbie

Media Contact:
Jennifer Acord, Director of Communications