The Bell Museum is moving to downtown St. Paul

The Bell Museum is moving to downtown St. Paul

After what feels like years of gentrification taking place on the east side of West 7th Street, namely the OXBO debacle, the city is starting to unearth its historical side. As of Jan. 1, 2017, construction will begin for the big move of the University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History, from Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul.

Now, through Dec. 31, the hours of operation will be extended to give guests ample time to soak up the charm of the 1940s-style building where the museum has resided for the last 75 years. Then, the Bell Museum will be closed for a year during the move, with the grand opening of the St. Paul location slated for summer 2018.

The Big Move

The reason for the move? Expansion isn’t enough for all of the added features you can expect from the new location, says the Bell Museum.

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A rendering of the new planetarium

After the University of Minnesota teamed up with the Minnesota Planetarium Society, members decided to dream big, investing in a $64.2 million plan to develop highly interactive science labs, a 120-seat planetarium, and much more.

Learn about the origins of the universe, as we know it, with the latest high-tech audiovisual equipment theater has to offer. The journey will conclude with a closer look at the flora and fauna currently inhabiting Minnesota, while the narrator promises to possibly posit our place in the great scheme of things.

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The Timber Wolf exhibit at the Bell Museum.

One of the crowing features of the Minneapolis Bell Museum are the 3D dioramas depicting surreal scenes of wildlife the state over. Many of Francis Lee Jacques’ stunning dioramas will make the move, says the MinnPost, but most of the museum will consist of brand new exhibits, including digital tours depicting the Earth’s changing climates, replete with animal migration maps, and the anatomy of the human body will be on display as well.

The U of M plans to build outdoor learning environments, such as a rooftop telescope observation station and sustainable water management area for eternal students wanting to extend their research beyond the bounds of the museum itself.

Also, two new children’s programs will take center stage, implementing a day camp program featuring hands-on activities and field trips.

Construction Cam

Check out the construction cam for hourly updates.

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Construction cam, as of 6.pm., 12/28/16

 

 

(Photo credit goes to the Bell Museum)

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‘Weird’ is a hard word to define

It’s about time I wrote an etymology report, and I’m planning on publishing a new one each month. The subject matter should be comprised of either trending words, rarely seen, frequently misused, or words with strangely archaic origins.

The why and how of language is a curious thing.

I’ve always been interested in the origin of words, along with their connotations. On a personal note, as a child, my punishment for stealing or lying would result in copying, by hand, words from the dictionary along with their meanings. I often struggled in such a simple task, when my step dad wouldn’t allow me to use syntactical punctuation marks–I had to write this in full sentences. For instance, I might find a bottleneck like, “The meaning of the word meaning means…” How could you possibly explain anything with that circular way of thinking? I had to dive deeper, discover synonyms, and find other ways of conveying my point to my step dad. Would he become baffled upon reading what I had written? Would he be impressed? Would he even read it at all, I wondered.

This ultimately led me to discover I enjoyed exercising what I’ve learned, kinesthetically, usually by rephrasing explanations in a way that made sense to me. I continued the practice on a 1980 Macintosh word processor that my biological father brought home when I was around the age of 10 (early 2000s) and started typing up passages I liked from our encyclopedia collection (mostly about the habitats of arboreal creatures like frogs and leopards), then I’d stare at them for a spell, mesmerized by the blinking green line glowing amid a black background, and I’d print it out just for added justification.

Then there was Spanish class in middle school. I found a lot of words in English had similar-sounding homonyms, spelling, and associated syntax. This led me toward French, another romance language that I can’t get enough of (though I sound like an ape trying to pronounce a damn thing, no offense to apes). The point is, it’s all interrelated, English steals from other languages to compose a more hardy, marble-mouthed version of some of the most beautiful words in existence, in my opinion.

Now that my backstory is out in plain view, I’d like to take this little habit a step further and dredge up the meanings behind one particular word, monthly if it all goes as planned.

I plan to interview experts in etymology and bring their insights back to this blog, but for now, let’s just jump into the origin of the word “weird” as I think that might be the best word to describe my own blog. I should’ve named it “weird nerd” or some such nonsense, but as a computer lover, the 7331 speak spoke volumes to me. Hence, w3rdn3rd.

Well, it’s about time I get back to my origins for deeming this domain to be centered on nerdy words, then, ey?

Since I have no live witnesses on hand to demonstrate my hypotheses, let’s see what the internet has to say about the word, “weird.”

Definition for “Weird”

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Merriam-Webster
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Use over time for: weird

Can we go back to spelling the word “weird” with a “y”? I don’t know about you, but I kind of want to explore the Old English origins of this word. How did “destiny” turn into “abnormal” in everyday usage?

From Wordorigins.org:

Until its appearance in the Scottish Play, the adjectival use was restricted to the phrase weird sister. Only after Shakespeare used the term, did its use expand to other contexts.

The modern adjectival sense, meaning strange or uncanny, dates only to the early nineteenth century. Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary only records it as an adjective, “no longer in use,” meaning skilled in witchcraft. Shelley uses the word several times. From his 1817 The Revolt of Islam, used in the sense of something supernatural:

Some said, I was a fiend from my weird cave, Who had stolen human shape.

Oh, how I love that book…

Next month, let’s look at the word “devolved” because I’ve been hearing it a lot lately.

Are there any weird words you’d like to explore? Let me know and I’ll try to wrangle up a few experts in the field to debunk their origins.

Until next time!

 

Featured image via Alexander Vestin

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