Bell Museum of Natural History and Planetarium changes leadership

August 17, 2015

Susan Weller, professor and executive director of the Bell Museum of Natural History and Planetarium since 2008, has accepted a position as director of the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History and professor in the university’s Department of Entomology.

A three-person interim team will lead the museum beginning next month.  Design work is under way for a new $64 million museum on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, with the new museum expected to open in 2018.

“The new Bell Museum of Natural History and Planetarium is an extraordinary opportunity to create a world-class museum that encourages creativity and engages the public in scientific exploration and discovery,” said Brian Buhr, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, which includes the museum.  “We’re at a critical stage in the planning and design of the new building, and I want to ensure a thoughtful, creative and inclusive process as we consider the next steps.”

The new three-person leadership team includes Beverly Anglum, who will oversee fundraising and marketing;  Steven Lott, who will oversee strategic and business planning, budget administration and project management; and a scientific director, to be named soon, who will oversee research and the museum’s exhibits.

“Professor Weller has been been a champion for advancing the academic mission of the museum’s collections and its science education programs,” Buhr said. “In the last five years, she’s led the museum in a time of unprecedented change. In 2011, the Bell merged with Minneapolis Planetarium Society, and in 2014 funding was approved to build a new museum and planetarium here on the St. Paul campus. On behalf of the college I want to thank Susan, both for leading the Bell Museum during a time of significant change and for positioning the museum on this unprecedented pathway to the future.”