- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - An $11.4 million project will develop space at the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History to show residents and others the evolution of life and natural systems in the region, officials said Monday.

The university Board of Regents approved the “Cherish Nebraska” project last week. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln said in a news release that the fourth floor of Morrill Hall will be transformed into space for state-of-the-art exhibits. They will include displays on geology, paleobiology, parasitology, weather and climate, and Nebraska biodiversity and ecosystems past and present.

Like other areas of the museum, the new exhibit space will become a platform for distance learning, using two-way videoconferencing technology to take exhibits into classrooms across the state.

Construction is expected to start in 2016, with a public opening for the new exhibits in 2018. The project will be funded by private donations, the university said.

“This project will transform Morrill Hall into a completely unified museum building, and the fourth floor will feature all new exhibits of a standard comparable to those at the Smithsonian,” said museum director Priscilla Grew.

The new space will let the museum share the latest research “and highlight amazing animals of Nebraska’s fossil past that are not now included in the other floors of Morrill Hall,” Grew said.

Since its dedication in 1927, Morrill Hall has been the home to the museum.

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