The major corporate donor for the new building was Rio Tinto, so the building had a beautiful copper sheeting and a great location up on the "benches" right next to Red Butte Gardens.
I really appreciate it when you can get a scale for how big some of these creatures were. This picture of the sauropod was taken from the balcony overlooking the dinosaur area. It was my best attempt at getting the whole of the skeleton in the field of view of the camera.
Utah his famous for it Jurassic aged dinosaurs, but I didn't know there were Cretaceous aged fossils too. The museum also had a small room (and map) with some of the Cretaceous dinosaurs found in the state.
One of my favorite displays, and one that certainly highlights the advantage of a new bigger space, was a wall with a cladogram showing different ceratopsin skulls.
From the hall of dinosaurs, the meandering path went to an area on the ecosystems (past and present) of the Lake Bonneville and the Great Salt Lake. It was a nice display. but it seemed a little out of context. Also, I spent a good amount of time looking for a display, or information about the draining of Lake Bonneville through Red Rock Pass, but I never found it. Maybe because it happened in Idaho...
From the Salt Lake area, it was back into general geology and a discussion of the ecoregions of the Basin and Range Provincne. A nice diagram of the Rock Cycle
A somewhat crude, but interactive display where you got to pull apart a piece of plywood to see the formation of Basins and Ranges
|Yellowstone Seismograph on Left, Little Cottonwood Canyon on Riight|
I was disappointed to say the least. The new Mineral display was one tiny hallway, located out of the way, with only about 1/4 of the minerals on display and not with the same level of detail.
In all, the new museum had a much nicer biology display, and the focus on dinosaurs was evident. But I was sadly dissapointed that the flow of the museum didn't always transition well from one area to the next. The museum nicely went through the first four floors, but then the space science and mineral displays were off the path and woud be easy to miss. But most of all I mourn the loss of what had been one of the most complete mineral displays (second in my mind only to the Smithsonian).
One final observation, on the day went Sam's Grandmother was in a wheelchair. I think every architect in the country should have to spend a week in a wheel chair before gettting a license. While the building was fully ADA compliant (and I would bet the old one wasn't), it was not very wheel chair friendly. Some of the ramps were out of the way, and many of the displays (specifically books of pressed plants for the Basin and Range ecozones) and placards were at a convient height for a standing adult (or over the head of someone in a wheel chair).
In all, it was still worth the visit, but it no longer is in my "top five"