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Bison migrates from Museum of Westward Expansion

A bison migration is happening in St. Louis. The stuffed bison at the Museum of Westward Expansion is leaving for the Great Plains at Fort Larned in Kansas. According to Park Ranger Interpretative Specialist Richard Ziino, the bison is making way for contemporary learning styles.

Two movers pack the Museum of Westward Expansion's stuffed beaver
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold l St. Louis Public Radio
Two movers pack the Museum of Westward Expansion's stuffed beaver

“Kids are learning by experiencing,” said Ziino, “They’ll be able to do different activities, handle things, electronic things. That’s what’s exciting about the new museum.”

The bison has called the museum below the St. Louis Arch home since its opening in the 1970s. Many of the museum’s notable exhibits are set to relocate. The stuffed beaver and bear are being sent to the St. Louis Science Center. The central statue of Thomas Jefferson is also being removed in service to creating a more tangible experience. Unlike the bison, the Jefferson statue will return.

“Kids and big kids are going to enjoy the opportunity to try things out hands on,” said Ziino, laughing.

Space where Thomas Jefferson statue once stood and Museum of Westward Expansion
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold l St. Louis Public Radio
Space where Thomas Jefferson statue once stood

Ziino has worked with the stuffed creatures and the rest of the museum since the 1990s. He said he's sad to see them leave but excited that the museum will reopen with new experiences to offer visitors. He’s proud the museum has lasted 40 years, and said he hopes the next version lasts at least as long.

The New Museum of Westward Expansion will reopen Spring of 2017.

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