Delaware Public Media

Delaware Museum of Natural History set to begin major makeover

Feb 5, 2020

The Delaware Museum of Natural History in Greenville is undergoing major changes that will close the building for a year.


The renovations are part of a $9.8 million capital campaign to reimagine the museum. This will be the largest redesign since the museum opened in 1972.

The renovation is limited to the museum’s interior on the main floor. No new construction is planned on the grounds.

Museum Executive Director Harley Spruance explains what will happen during the year the museum is closed.

"We are planning for closure to begin in January 2021," said Spruance. "And at this point, we are anticipating being closed for an entire year, but during that year, we will be offering membership opportunities activities as well as educational outreach tours and activities during that time. So we will have a strong presence off site while we are renovating on site."

Off-site events are nothing new to the museum, which already visits schools, libraries and community centers.

And Spruance says the museum plans a new approach when it reopens.

“The museum is currently organized by taxon. So basically it's birds, shells and mammals Earth sea and sky and that's the way a lot of museums were set up in the past Natural History Museums," said Spruance. "We're moving away from that and making a pivot to ecosystems."

Spruance adds the new ecosystem focus will help tell Delaware's story.

"There's a broad array of ecosystems that we have here in the Delaware region, everything from the Piedmont forest in the northern part of the state - New Castle County - all the way through the central part of the state with the bays and the coastal areas and then down to the great Cypress swamp, which is right on the Delaware/Maryland border at the southern end of the state," Spruance said.

Spruance adds the new look and approach will highlight natural resources, scientific and biological research, and what can be done with all of that information to make the world a better place.

The museum will also have a new name - Delaware Museum of Nature and Science - when it reopens in 2022.