Fresno Met Museum Reopens

Fresno, CA, USA A steel drum band and a dancing dragon entertained a crowd of the curious as they came out to get their first look at the all-new Fresno Met Museum. After performing ribbon cutting duties, schoolchildren from Calwa Elementary were the first ones to enter the museum. Hundreds of others followed, anxious to see the new exhibits.

While the 'Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight" exhibit seemed to be a crowd favorite among all ages, children got 'hands on' experiences on the first floor. "I think it's fantastic, it's great. It exposes the children to what's out there," said parent Susan Rendon.

Deannine Riahizadeh was happily surprised the museum even had something for her young granddaughter, who is a toddler. "Now they can grow with the museum and do things as the museum changes," said Riahizadeh.

The highly anticipated museum reopening follows a three year renovation project to the building that once housed the Fresno Bee. Museum executive director Dana Thorpe said the changes have turned the museum into a world class facility. "The Fresno Met Museum itself is now a fully operational museum, which can host world class exhibitions, welcome visitors not only from our own community, but from around the world," said Thorpe.

Some of those future exhibits will come from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. A Smithsonian representative attended Thursday's reopening to celebrate a partnership between the two museums. "An exhibit on Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, will come here in 2010. It's one of the best Smithsonian traveling exhibits the Smithsonian has put together," said Smithsonian Institution representative Harold Closter.

And while the museum looks toward the future, so are members of the community. "It's beautiful, I love it. We can't wait to come back when it's not so crowded," said Riahizadeh.

If you missed Thursday's reopening ceremony, you still have a chance to celebrate with the museum. It will open at noon Friday and stay open for 55 hours straight. Admission will be free all weekend.


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