3M support helps the Bell Museum celebrate a year filled with joy, curiosity, and new connections

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 12:00pm

On July 14, 2018, the Bell Museum celebrated the grand opening of its new space on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. As Minnesota’s state natural history museum, the Bell aims to ignite curiosity and wonder, explore connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world. From supporting young learners to expanding community engagement, here are some of the many ways that 3M has helped to advance this mission since the Bell’s reopening.

Breaking down barriers

This summer, 3M renewed its longtime commitment to the Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) system, offering support for second graders to attend field trips to the Bell Museum. As the Bell works to provide informal STEM learning experiences for children onsite, the opportunity to remove financial barriers opened new doors for programming. 

Supporting diversity in STEM

3M’s support has increased the number of student visitors to the Bell from schools with a high percentage of students receiving free/reduced price lunch benefits, and increased the diversity of Bell visitors.

Additionally, there is a small window of time to engage kids in science outside of social pressures. Many SPPS partners note that for elementary students, especially girls, a visit to the Bell Museum is an important supportive, fun, and engaging opportunity to connect with science that can increase the likelihood of students continuing to engage in STEM in school, and as a future career path.

The Bell Museum is grateful for the opportunity to work with 3M to close the achievement gap that Minnesota schools face.

Growing connections

With the opening of the new Bell Museum has also come new opportunities for 3M to expand engagement. This includes: event sponsorship at the Bell, ranging from Opening Weekend to a recent Cosmic 5K celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing; bringing nearly 3,000 schoolchildren to the museum; and welcoming a new member onto the Bell’s board of advisors this fall—Jed Larkin, vice president of tax and real estate at 3M.

“As a former classroom teacher, I’m grateful to partners like 3M who provide us with the resources to welcome students from across Minnesota. Through its support for the Bell Museum, 3M has expanded science education experiences for young learners, empowering future generations with the tools to imagine—and build—a better future for our world.”

—Denise Young, executive director, Bell Museum

Photo by Sarah Karnas


CSE-College of Science and Engineering

CSOM-Carlson School of Management

DENT-School of Dentistry

ICA-Intercollegiate Athletics

OED-Office of Equity and Diversity

STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

UMMCH-M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital