Update: The Bell Museum has closed it its old location. It has been rebuilt as a new, shiny, interactive and thoroughly repugnant shadow of itself. It has the charm and warmth of a Chucky Cheese restaurant. I do not recommend this new museum.

While modern museums with hands-on demos, touchpads of information and shiny new displays certainly have their appeal, there’s definitely something to be said for the traditional museum display. The Bell has all the appealing touches of an old science museum – wooden paneling, art deco lighting and stairwells, gorgeous hand-painted dioramas and skillfully taxidermied animals. In addition to two floors of midwest animals, there is a large hands-on room with everything from a moose head, shells, live reptiles and bones of various animals. Sadly, it seems this classic gem is to be modernized and moved into a new building in the next few years. While I’m sure it will be impressive and elegant, it will undoubtedly lose much of its traditional appeal.

Bell Museum of Natural History

Photos of old location: