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Release: April 23, 2001

UI opens Hageboeck Hall of Birds May 5

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- One word -- free -- will likely draw many visitors to the 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 5 opening of "Taking Flight: The World of Birds," the new, permanent exhibit at the University of Iowa's Museum of Natural History.

However, anyone who appreciates the outdoors will find other reasons, including special activities on:

  • Birds of prey, featuring a presentation with live birds by the Macbride Raptor Center
  • Identifying songbirds
  • How birds fly
  • How to attract birds to your backyard

Located on the third floor of Macbride Hall in the gallery formally re-named the William and Eleanor Hageboeck Hall of Birds, the 5,000-square-foot exhibit is tailor-made for both the casual visitor and the serious student. For example, there is a video on the "Dynamics of Flight," a display featuring the nests of 30 species, and an interactive exhibit, "Why Birds Sing", including a game to match bird songs with the correct birds. Additionally, about 1,000 of some 10,000 birds in the museum's 150-year-old research collection, along with many of the collection's 8,000 eggs, have been cleaned and refurbished for display. The hall's new displays will feature nearly all aspects of birds and their significance to humans.

Interim Director Julia Golden says, "The renovations and new exhibits give an exciting, new look to the gallery. With updated information and interactive displays, the birds are now more accessible to students and visitors. Everyone will walk away with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for birds."

To be sure, the university's bird collection has always been one of the largest and most complete in the country, going back to the museum's founding as the first university museum west of the Mississippi River in 1858. Thanks to a successful fund-raising campaign spear-headed by the UI Foundation and generous donors, the museum is able to renovate the exhibits for the estimated 30,000 yearly visitors. The renaming of the hall recognizes a generous lead gift by UI alumni and Iowa City residents William T. and Eleanor G. Hageboeck.

"More than 500 loyal supporters have made contributions totaling more than a half million dollars for remodeling the hall and installation of the new exhibits," Golden says. "The campaign continues, as we still need to design and install two remaining areas that will address changes in Iowa's landscape and their impact on birds, as well as the cultural relationship between birds and people."

The renovation makes Hageboeck Hall the latest star among the museum's three major exhibition spaces that include Mammal Hall and Iowa Hall. Hageboeck Hall is the product of collaboration involving a committee of UI faculty members and community representatives, together with some of the most talented museum exhibit designers and fabricators in the country, including Ben Kozak of the Chicago firm Exhibit Design Central, Proto Productions of Chicago, and Neal Deaton and Terry Brown of The Museum Professionals in Minneapolis.

Best of all, Hageboeck Hall, like Mammal Hall and Iowa Hall, is free and open to the public from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Additional information is available on the Web at:

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. People requiring an accommodation in order to participate in this program are asked to contact the UI Museum of Natural History in advance at 319-335-0481.