Bell Museum

In July 2018, the Bell Museum opened in its new home on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Cortina Productions worked with the museum to produce four films, 15 interactive exhibits, and three soundscapes. The Bell Museum is internationally renowned for its collection of wildlife nature dioramas. Serving as a time capsule of Minnesota’s rich natural history, the majority of the museum’s dioramas were created in the late 1930s to early 1940s by acclaimed artist Francis Lee Jaques and longtime director of the Bell Museum, Walter Breckenridge.

Much of Cortina Productions’ work for the new museum focused on ways to bring these beautiful dioramas to life. In the “Field Notes” interactive stations that accompany the dioramas, visitors have access to a species ID and field guide system that provides rich information on every single plant or animal depicted in the diorama scene. Additionally, the “Field Notes” interactives feature expert interviews and video of the animals in their natural habitat. Several of the stations also include Dakota and Ojibwe speakers describing the diorama in their native tongue.

Other project highlights include the CGI-animated films "Soup Bowl" and “Supernova,” and the gesture-based “Crane Dance” interactive. “Soup Bowl” is a projected film that depicts the story of how life on earth began 3.5 billion years ago. In “Supernova,” visitors learn about the final stage of a star’s life, marked by a massive explosion and subsequent release of chemical elements into space. Finally, the “Crane Dance” interactive lets you be the Crane and learn their dance to attract a mate!

Exhibit Design by Gallagher and Associates
Exhibit Fabrication by D&P

Project Highlights

4 Films
15 Interactives
3 Soundscapes