The American Museum of Natural History unveiled its much-anticipated Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation to the public this spring. This new architectural marvel is set to transform the museum and provide an enhanced visitor experience with continuous pathways through its four-block campus. The museum’s newest addition is the result of a remarkable partnership between the public and private sectors, highlighting the crucial role of natural history collections in advancing scientific discoveries.
Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation (Alvaro Keding/© AMNH)
Science Comes Alive at The Gilder Center
The Gilder Center is unlike any other facility of its kind. “In addition to its awe-inspiring architectural design and exhilarating exhibits, the Gilder Center is the first building on the Museum campus that explicitly embraces the totality of our work across science, education, and exhibition,” Sean M. Decatur, President of the American Museum of Natural History, says of the space. “With this new facility as a powerful springboard, the Museum is increasingly working in a cross-disciplinary way across scientific fields and more deeply integrating our research with our exhibition programs and education initiatives.”
The Gilder Center aims to engage visitors with science through groundbreaking exhibits and programs that immerse them in scientific evidence and processes. Designed to inspire curiosity and wonder, the Gilder Center’s spaces provide unprecedented views into the critical role of scientific collections. With research collections, exhibitions, and classrooms situated in close proximity, the Gilder Center highlights the ways in which museums advance scientific discovery and science education while inviting a deeper connection to the natural world.
“With science at the core of today’s most pressing issues like human health, climate change, and conservation, there is a critical need to enhance the public understanding of science,” Decatur says. “By revealing the methods of science, showcasing the evidence of scientific discovery, and activating new educational initiatives, the Gilder Center presents an unparalleled opportunity for the Museum to advance its efforts in increasing fluency in scientific thinking across audiences of all ages. The Gilder Center also fulfills a physical need for the Museum, improving visitor circulation and promoting wider exploration by connecting the entire campus.”
Kenneth C. Griffin Exploration Atrium (Alvaro Keding/© AMNH)
Designed by Studio Gang, led by Jeanne Gang, the Gilder Center features striking architecture inspired by natural landscapes that invite exploration and spark curiosity. With bridges, curves, and apertures that offer visitors glimpses of exhibitions and other spaces throughout the five-story Kenneth C. Griffin Atrium, the Gilder Center also enhances visitor experience by eliminating dead ends throughout the museum’s campus.
Expect a consistently fascinating experience that includes collections, galleries, immersive experiences, and even live-animal exhibits. “The Gilder Center includes permanent exhibits as well as experiences that can be updated if needed,” Decatur says. “The new building will also offer a range of programming, from educational programs for students based in Gilder Center’s cutting-edge education spaces to events and other learning opportunities for families and adults.”
The Gilder Center is an exceptional achievement offering visitors from around the world an unmatched opportunity to explore the museum’s vast and diverse collections while gaining new insights into the natural world. With the Gilder Center, the American Museum of Natural History has cemented its status as a leading authority on scientific discovery, research, education, and innovation and will continue to inspire and captivate future generations of museum-goers.
Insects of New York City in the Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family (Alvaro Keding/© AMNH)
“With cutting-edge exhibition galleries and one-of-a-kind experiences, there is so much for visitors to discover at the Gilder Center. As a research institution, the exhibits in the Gerstner Collections Core are central to our mission,” Decatur says of the visitor experience. “The Collections Core is a new facility that houses millions of specimens and includes three levels of floor-to-ceiling exhibits that showcase the breadth of the Museum’s collections and offer glimpses into working collections areas, revealing how collections are used in scientific research.”
“There is also the Solomon Family Insectarium, the first Museum Hall in decades dedicated to the most diverse—and critically important—group of animals on Earth. One highlight of the Insectarium is an amazing exhibit where visitors can observe thousands of live leafcutter ants. And in the new Invisible Worlds immersive experience, guests learn about the interconnectedness of life, from the cellular level all the way up to the systems level. Beyond being breathtakingly beautiful, the interactive experience is based on projections of authentic data, so visitors get a real sense of the science behind the phenomenon they are seeing.”
Live Insect Displays in the Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family (Alvaro Keding/© AMNH)