Get us in your inbox


Everything we know about the Museum of Natural History's expansion project

Allie Early

New York's beloved American Museum of Natural History is on the road to a much-anticipated expansion. You've likely encountered our previous coverage of the project on Time Out here and here, but in the event that you haven't, here's a recap of what's in the works:

- The Richard Gilder Center for Science, a 245,000-square-foot wing designed by Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects, will feature a state-of-the-art insectarium (A.K.A. bug hall!), a 3,000-square-foot butterfly vivarium (modern, upgraded butterfly conservatory) packed with high-tech features, and expanded learning spaces. The project was approved by NYC parks December 4, 2017 and is projected to open in 2020.

- The new wing will also feature a 21,000-square-foot Collections Core that includes specimens and artifacts (seen in our lead image).

- The Center will be a candidate for LEED Gold certification, and the design will incorporate fritted glass for shading/bird safety, efficient landscaping, mindful lighting designs and water conservation initiatives in addition to outdoor landscaping that's water efficient.

Photograph: Courtesy Ralph Appelbaum Associates

- The Museum has collaborated with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) to minimize the environmental impact on Theodore Roosevelt Park and contribute park improvements that include new tree plantings, benches and expanded play areas. 

- In April 2018, Patch reported that The Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park is "suing the City, Parks Department and American Museum of Natural History." The group claims that the Parks Department improperly interpreted a law when it approved the plans for AMNH's Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation and alleges that the project would pose environmental issues.

- In December 2018, a judge ruled in favor of the American Museum of Natural History, allowing the Richard Gilder Center's construction to proceed. 

Photograph: Courtesy Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Photograph: Courtesy Ralph Appelbaum Associates

While you're anxiously awaiting the Richard Gilder Center's reopening, you can also look forward to the new T.rex exhibit, the July 2019 revitalization of the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites, the Hayden Planetarium's new space show (opening January 2020) and the redesigned Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals (opening fall 2020). Also coming up: The Northwest Coast Hall will be renovated and will reopen in 2021.

Don't forget to check out our favorite museums for children, some super cool-yet-underrated museums and these playgrounds with famous artwork.

For even more project information, visit the American Museum of Natural History's website here.

Sign up to receive great Time Out New York Kids deals in your inbox each day.

Latest news