Renewed Utrecht University Museum reopens after three years

Museum for curious minds opens in Utrecht

Een gezin neemt een kijkje in het vernieuwde UMU

Wednesday 6 September sees the University Museum Utrecht - UMU open to the public again. 'The new UMU is the museum for everyone who is curious,' says director Femke den Boer. 'In our revamped family museum, visitors get a peek under the bonnet of science and become a researcher themselves.'

The new UMU has five new exhibition halls where visitors are actively introduced to scientific research at Utrecht University, past and present. Visitors experience how to do research by getting to work on challenging research activities. For instance, visitors can design a heart-lung machine, study the behaviour of monkeys and humans, experiment with an air pump and are challenged during various research workshops. The museum has collaborated with several scientists from Utrecht University for this purpose.

Anyone can become a researcher

'At the University Museum, we believe everyone can become a researcher. We like to invite our visitor to ask questions about themselves and the world around them. In the museum, we want visitors to experience that you can research anything if you ask the right questions and use different research skills just like scientists. These include designing, looking closely and comparing, experimenting, researching sources and delving into the earth. UMU likes to welcome children as well as adults, because it is precisely by working together that you discover more,' says Femke den Boer.

Citizen Science

During the first weekend the museum is open again, the citizen science project 'Check your place' will be launched. Citizen science projects involve non-scientists helping with an investigation. Children and young people are asked to observe their favourite outdoor spot and indicate what makes it their favourite spot. Scientists Kathrine van den Bogert and Gijs van Campenhout examine the data collected and hope to learn more about what young people themselves find a nice place. 'Children use a place differently than adults and researchers think. That is why we ask them to investigate their own places. By collaborating with UMU, we can collect a lot of data and gain insight into what makes something a nice outdoor place,' the scientists said.

Narrowing the gap between science and society

Utrecht University is one of the few universities to have a museum. 'At Utrecht University, we think it is important to reduce the distance between the university and society,' says rector magnificus Henk Kummeling. 'That is why we try to show in different ways how scientific research helps us better understand the world around us, and contributes to a better world. The University Museum Utrecht is one of the ways we introduce families to science and the university. In addition, the museum offers opportunities to involve society in research by organising citizen science projects.'

Research workshops

UMU regularly offers research workshops and other activities such as interactive lectures. Visitors can meet scientists and interact with them. There are also various programmes for primary and secondary schools, such as a Research Tour in which pupils actively engage in the various museum rooms and learn to appreciate science. All these programmes are supervised by students from Utrecht University.

Zaal in het UMU

Renovation completed

The University Museum has been remodelled over the past three years as the original 1996 museum building became too small for the rapidly growing visitor numbers. In 2019, the museum attracted 75,000 visitors. In the renovated museum, the biggest bottlenecks have been solved. By significantly enlarging the entrance area and adding part of the offices to the museum, there is more space for exhibitions and facilities such as cloakroom, toilets and reception.

The Oude Hortus is also open again

From 6 September, the Oude Hortus and the museum café can also be visited again. During the renovation of the museum, major maintenance was carried out in the Oude Hortus. The monumental greenhouses were completely renovated, painted and fitted with new glass. Visitors are welcome again in the museum café and on the renovated terrace for a cup of coffee and a delicious lunch. This national monument, called the Seed House, was recently renovated and made more sustainable.

The UMU and the Oude Hortus will be open again from Wednesday 6 September 1pm.

Visit the UMU website and plan your visit