A grand opening ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 18 for the newly expanded Entomology Lab at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Chesterfield, MO.
In addition to tripling staff work space, this new area gives visitors of all ages a firsthand look at what goes into the care and cultivation of the Butterfly House’s diverse living insect collection. Interpretative elements on the guest-facing portions of the Entomology Lab guide visitors through the four stages of the butterfly lifecycle, the differences between butterflies and moths and the international journey butterflies take to arrive at the Butterfly House.
The fundraising campaign launched in 2018 with the Butterfly House’s 20th Anniversary Metamorphosis Gala. The $600,000 project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), as well as through generous private donations and general operating support.
After receiving the IMLS grant in August 2020, the Butterfly House team wasted no time to start construction on the new lab.
“We definitely had an aggressive timeline, and we knew that finding the perfect construction team was going to be essential,” said Butterfly House Director Jennifer Mullix. “As a USDA-regulated facility, we can be pretty ‘high maintenance.’ You can’t have doors left open, your equipment size is limited, and all the dirt or materials leaving have to be properly sanitized and/or inspected.”
Construction began in March 2021 with Hof Construction being selected as the General Contractor.
“These last 18 months have been so hard on everyone,” said Mullix. “Being able to help make this project go from a dream to reality has been so incredibly rewarding. It really has taken a village, and I will be forever grateful to everyone who was a part of this project. Our entomologists do such amazing work that I want as many people as possible to see that up close.”
Following the private ceremony, visitors will have access to explore the new exhibit starting at 10 a.m. during the Evelyn E. Newman Founder’s Day Celebration.