Bean Museum Revisited

With fascinating new exhibits and state-of-the-art design, BYU’s Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum makes learning significant in an uplifting context. Live animal shows, exotic displays, and inspiring artwork renew and expand the offerings of the recently remodeled building, which covers 32,400 square feet of exhibits, classrooms, and labs.

Consistent with BYU’s focus on spiritual aspects of learning, the Bean Museum is built on scriptural ideals. Museum director Larry St. Clair explained that the museum’s mission and theme follow that standard.

“The Lord declares that He is the creator and we are the stewards. Our theme, ‘Protect Your Planet,’ reminds us that we have a responsibility to take care of all of His creatures.”

The aim of the museum is to enhance the belief that nature is divine, organized by God for the benefit of His children. Its mission statement captures the perspective that the collections at the museum celebrate the role of Jesus Christ as the Creator as they contribute to student learning strengthen faculty teaching, and promote research.

Visitors to the exhibits have expressed their wonder and amazement at how the museum captures nature and transports them to a new world. Shazia Chiu, a senior majoring in public relations at BYU, felt like the museum took her to a different place.

“Stepping into the Bean Museum . . . I suddenly felt like I’d left BYU campus to travel somewhere completely different,” Chiu said. “All of the exotic animals, the nice displays, and interesting exhibits . . . made the museum visit feel very unique.”

Andrew Williamson, a BYU senior majoring in communications, described his impressions of one of the exhibits.

“I was particularly awed by the waterfowl room. With beautiful, dark wood showcases and thick floor rugs, the exhibit felt like a warm hunting lodge. The specimens of birds and the work done on them were absolutely beautiful.”

The expanded facility was funded through donor contributions. The artifacts on display account for only one-third of the total museum resources–with 2.8 million different specimens dating from 1900. The curators plan to switch out exhibits periodically to keep the space fresh and new.

When you visit BYU, take time to experience the new Bean Life Science Museum and observe its efforts to preserve some of God’s most beautiful creatures.