ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The natural history museum is set to get an upgraded version of the “Origins Hall,” the exhibit that walks visitors through the story of the origin of life on Earth. The upgrade will re-imagine the space with an exhibit called “Ancient Life.”

“Across our 15 museums and historic sites, our focus is making sure our exhibits stay relevant, current, and engaging for all New Mexicans,” New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego said in a press release. “We’re thrilled that the $800,000 that the Department of Cultural Affairs has been able to secure for this upgrade will give New Mexico’s most-visited museum the opportunity to upgrade one of its core exhibits with a focus on New Mexico fossils.”

This will be the first major redo of the exhibit since 1987, according to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. The original exhibit has been in place since the museum first opened its doors.

Now, the exhibit will get fossils from New Mexico’s Paleozoic Era, several hundred million years ago. About 200 locally sourced fossils will fill the exhibit, including the oldest fossil discovered in the state, a trilobite from about 500 million years ago.

“For more than 30 years, museum scientists have collected and studied fossils across New Mexico to learn what our state was like before the dinosaurs,” Anthony Fiorillo, the museum’s executive director, said in a press release. “Not only will the renovations feature an updated look and feel, but they will allow us to bring many of our oldest fossils out of research collections for the public to view for the very first time and tell new stories about the ancient history of our state.” 

The work to revamp the exhibit will begin later this week. The new exhibit will be open by the end of 2024, the museum says.