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Director of Development
Museum of Natural History
UI Foundation News
500 Alumni Center
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305

Release: Immediate

Campaign will benefit Bird Hall renovation at UI Museum of Natural History

IOWA CITY -- A fund-raising campaign conducted by the University of Iowa Foundation will help cover the cost of a major redesign of Bird Hall exhibits in the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, located in Macbride Hall on the UI campus.

Alumni and friends of the University, as well as museum visitors, will be asked to make gifts or pledges to the Campaign for Bird Hall in the coming months. A generous lead gift has been made by UI alumni William T. Hageboeck and Eleanor G. Hageboeck of Iowa City. The Hageboecks, with abiding interests in natural history, are longtime supporters of the UI. He received a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1928; she received a bachelor's degree in art in 1929.

The remodeling will be done in four phases between May 1997 and late 1998. When renovation is complete, Bird Hall will feature interactive displays and activities, and exhibits with sound effects. A Minneapolis-based firm, The Museum Professionals/Neal Deaton and Associates, will produce many of the new exhibits. Deaton was responsible for the exhibit designs and colorful dioramas at the Museum of Natural History's Iowa Hall, which opened in 1985.

About 70,000 people from Iowa and around the world visit the Museum of Natural History each year. The modernization of Bird Hall is expected to boost attendance. The museum's three major display areas--Bird Hall, Mammal Hall, and Iowa Hall--are free and open to the public.

"The redesigned Bird Hall will feature one of the largest and most spectacular public displays of birds in the United States," museum director George Schrimper said. "With Neal Deaton on board, we know the Bird Hall project will meet the high standards set by Iowa Hall, which is the museum's most popular exhibit area. The 5,000-square-foot Bird Hall will appeal to students, families, ornithologists, and researchers. This will be a fascinating new attraction and asset for the University, Iowa City, and all of Iowa."

Drawing upon the museum's comprehensive collection of North American birds, Bird Hall will feature almost every aspect of bird life:

* Exhibits will highlight the historical and cultural significance of birds to humans; evolution of birds; diversity of birds in size, shape, and color; form and function of feathers; mechanics of flight; adaptive features of beaks and feet; varieties of nests and eggs; and migration habits.

* Nine new exhibits with mural backgrounds will illustrate the habitat, behaviors, and family characteristics of selected North American birds. Another display will showcase extinct or endangered birds.

* Visitors will push a button to hear a recorded bird song or see how a wing moves in flight. Drawers will open to reveal collections of eggs. Another area will offer tips on feeding, watching, and identifying birds.

Bird Hall's Laysan Island Cyclorama will not be affected except for minor cleaning. The now-classic exhibit, completed in 1914, features hundreds of nesting Pacific birds representing 23 species.

Those interested in making a gift to the Campaign for Bird Hall should call the UI Foundation, 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973. Contributors of $25 or more to the Campaign for Bird Hall will be recognized in a printed honor roll to be published at the conclusion of the campaign. Contributors of $1,000 or more will be recognized on a plaque to be installed in Bird Hall when the renovation is completed. Gifts at higher levels may qualify to name displays in honor of friends, family, or organizations.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to provide resources for building renovations, equipment, technology, scholarships, professorships, and other forms of support for the UI.