Westminster’s Great Salt Lake Institute Contributes to New Natural History Museum of Utah
Westminster’s GSLI was instrumental in design and content of lake display
SALT LAKE CITY – An exciting, interactive exhibit of Great Salt Lake was recently unveiled at the grand opening of the Natural History Museum of Utah with the help of Westminster’s Great Salt Lake Institute (GSLI).
Working with architects, scientists, and the exhibit designers, Dr. Bonnie Baxter, Westminster’s GSLI director and design team leader, played an integral role in the development of the exhibit since the early planning stages four years ago. In addition to leading the design team for this exhibit, Baxter and her staff hosted the exhibit designers and gallery outreach personnel on tours of various parts of the lake. The tours were designed to help them capture the science, essence and hemispheric importance of the lake.
“GSLI served the purpose of pulling together researchers and stewards of the lake to tell the story of what Great Salt Lake means to Utah and the world,” explained Baxter. “This is exactly the kind of project we like to take on—educating and engaging the community about our unique ecosystem. Working with the museum staff and architect design team was an amazing experience, and we will continue to do so to keep the living part of the gallery alive.”
As American White Pelicans, White-faced Ibis and Tundra Swans soar overhead, visitors can explore the microscopic world of the lake. With biotubes of brine shrimp and lake bottom sediments and microscopes to examine specimens, the realistic Great Salt Lake display is designed to be a hands-on, fun experience for museum-goers of all ages.
“Westminster’s GSLI was responsible for providing the specimens of the lake as well as contributing to the content of the displays,” explained Jaimi Butler, GSLI coordinator. “Bonnie is also featured in the exhibit’s video called ‘People of the Lake,’ which highlights scientists and others who have a special connection to Great Salt Lake.”
From learning about wetlands and levels of Lake Bonneville to examining microbes in the lake, GSLI hopes the educational aspects of the exhibit will “wet” visitor’s appetites and encourage them to find out more about this important resource.
“Great Salt Lake is not easy to access for everyone, this exhibit provides a close-up glimpse of what you might see out there,” added Butler. “We hope that the display captures the essence of the lake and gets people excited about going out to places like Antelope Island, Saltair or Spiral Jetty where they can see and experience GSL firsthand.”
GSLI’s Great Salt Lake exhibit is a permanent feature of the museum, and will eventually have a smartphone tour “app” that will give visitors an even more interactive experience.
For more information on GSLI, visit www.westminstercollege.edu/gsli.
Media Contacts: Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von (801) 832-2682
Dec. 1, 2011
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu or follow WestminsterSLC on Twitter.
About Westminster’s Great Salt Lake Institute:
The Great Salt Lake Institute (GSLI) is dedicated to supporting research, education, and stewardship of our unique Great Salt Lake. We accomplish our mission through creating opportunities and partnerships for researchers, students of all ages, teachers, industry and the community. For more information, visit www.greatsaltlakeinstitute.org.