Facility & Site
Site & Location
Located in the middle of Northern California, the Northern California Natural History Museum at California State University, Chico is less than two hours from most of the region’s schools, and near many of the regions natural attractions, such as Lassen Volcanic National Park. Highways 99 and 32 intersect in Chico, with Highway 5 passing within 20 miles and connected by Hwy 32.
California State University, Chico has donated a 1.86 acre site adjacent to Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park for the new museum. The NCNHM site is near downtown Chico and within walking distance of the Chico Museum as well as the Janet Turner Print Museum and the CSU Chico Museum of Anthropology. Chico’s Amtrak station is nearby.
Located on the northeast corner of the CSU Chico campus, the NCNHM will be accessed by Chico’s famed Esplanade, a scenic four-lane thoroughfare. Ample parking will be provided at the museum, and joint admissions to Bidwell Mansion and the other nearby museums will be available.
View a 360° virtual reality panorama of the future home of the NCNHM. (Requires Flash player. Download here.)
The Museum will be a 15,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility featuring modern immersion diaoramas, interactive features, permanent and traveling exhibit spaces, as well as a classsroom and cafe. The facility is slated for completion in 2005.
Visitors will enter the NCNHM at the Great Hall, a majestic 5600 square foot room with 30-foot ceiling and a cupola through which light streams. To the visitor’s left will loom the T. rex skeleton, and beyond it the animatronic mammoth, and the visible parts of the hall’s “Ages of Northern California” permanent exhibit, which is entered on the left.
To the visitor’s right will be the gift shop. Other rooms of the museum will open off the Great Hall. One spacious opening will lead to the 2500 square foot Cornyn-Moore Hall, housing the “Worlds of Northern California” exhibit. Another opening will lead to the 2500 square foot hall housing traveling exhibits and special events. To the left of the Great Hall will be the Refreshment Center and patio, where visitors will be able to relax over light meals or snacks, and watch children play in the playground. To the right of the Great Hall will be the museum Classroom, where school groups will begin their museum visit with hands-on activities in the lab and computer facilities, and where community groups will hold meetings.