About the Museum at Prairiefire


The Museum at Prairiefire is committed to innovative learning in science, the arts and natural history. Through a founding collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, as well as with other cultural and educational institutions in the nation, the Museum at Prairiefire is a place that provides ACCESS FOR ALL to understand and celebrate natural history, the arts and science in our region and around the world. The Museum engages visitors and students of all ages with world-class exhibitions, important programming, and significant educational and STEAM opportunities.

Global STEM Education Partner

Visit and Explore

The Museum at Prairiefire hosts the American Museum of Natural History’s (New York City) timely and scientifically accurate exhibitions, curated by its top research scientists.  Each year, the American Museum of Natural History develops new exhibitions that explore wide-ranging topics such as the powerful link between humans and horses; fireflies and medicine; and the biggest, smallest, and most amazing species of all time.

Complementing the AMNH exhibitions, Museum at Prairiefire offerings include the Discovery Room for children ages 3-12, events and programming such as Science Happy Hour and Little Explorers Club, stunning artifacts from national and regional collections, and two amazing Virtual Reality Experiences.


The Museum at Prairiefire was founded in 2008 and opened in 2014 through a unique partnership with the world renowned American Museum of Natural History.  Until now, the American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869 in New York, has not collaborated to this degree with another museum in the world.  Because of this unprecedented association, the Museum at Prairiefire has premiere access to the American Museum of Natural History’s timely and scientifically accurate exhibitions, renowned educational resources and some of the best scientists in the world.


The Museum at Prairiefire is a Gold-level GuideStar participant, rewarded for a commitment to tranpsarency within our communities.

Museum at Prairiefire is a place that provides access for all to understand and celebrate natural history and science in our region and around the world.


American Museum of Natural History

About AMNH

The American Museum of Natural History, located in New York City and founded in 1869, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions. Five active research divisions and three cross-disciplinary centers support 200 scientists, whose work draws on a world-class permanent collection of more than 32 million specimens and artifacts, including specialized collections for frozen tissue and genomic and astrophysical data, as well as one of the largest natural history libraries in the Western Hemisphere. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, it is the first American museum authorized to grant the Ph.D. degree. In 2012, the Museum began offering a pilot Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in earth science. Approximately 5 million visitors from around the world came to the Museum last year, and its exhibitions and Space Shows can be seen in venues on five continents.

The Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world and the universe through a wide-reaching program of scientific research, education and exhibitions.

Long celebrated for the depth of its collections and the wide scope of its halls, the Museum has continuously been at the forefront of scientific discovery and interpretive programming. The Museum is dedicated both to acquiring scientific knowledge and to sharing that information with the broadest audience possible. By combining research and educational efforts, the Museum seeks to expand public understanding of the cosmos and the diversity of life on Earth.

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museum team

Candy Merrill

Founding Director


Terri Thompson

Director of Community Engagement


Dr. Kathryn McKinney

Education Director

Educational Programming

Chris Muehlbach

Operations Director


Cathie O'Sullivan

Education Coordinator

Group Tours and Community Outreach

Ian Clark

Education Coordinator

Guest Experience

Tim Shaban

Education Specialist

Field Trips and Programs

the building

A Building Made From Space
Age Materials

The Museum at Prairiefire is the first building in North America to feature dichroic glass on its exterior. This light-bending material, developed by NASA to protect its astronauts’ eyes from the radiation of the sun, absorbs light as tone color on its exterior and filters into an entirely different hue on its interior. Observe how the fiery reds and oranges of the Museum’s exterior create a wave of cool blues and purples on its interior.

Architect: Jonathan Kharfen | Verner Johnson, Inc.

The board

Anab Abdulahi -

AXA Advisors

Darren Dupriest -

Validity Screening Solutions

Dr. Michael Engel -

KU Biodiversity Institute

Brett Gordon -

McCownGordon Construction LLC

Scott K. Martinsen -

Kirkland Woods & Martinsen LLP

Mr. Fred L. Merrill Jr. -

Merrill Companies

Mr. Greg L. Musil -

Douthit, Fret Rouse Gentil & Rhodes LLC

Ms. Suze Parker -

Parker Communications Group

Mr. Bill Snyder -

Kansas State University

Dr. Joseph M. Sopcich -

Johnson County Community College

Matt Masilionis -

Rees Masilionis Turley

Dr. Joe Sopcich -

Johnson County Community College

Tom Turner -

Grandbridge Real Estate Capital