The Bell Museum first opened in 1872 on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus by mandate from the state legislation in order to preserve valuable documentation of Minnesota's diverse flora and fauna. It became famous for its wildlife dioramas. In 1940, the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History opened, named after the founder of  GM and dedicated conservationist because he donated half the money needed for the new museum. It was located in Minneapolis as well, and it grew and expanded, but started to show wear and tear in the 1980s. It took decades for the plans for a new building for the museum to be hammered out, and it opened in 2018 in its current location at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus. It has the vaunted wildlife dioramas, a digital planetarium, other high-tech exhibits, and more.

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