Florida Museum of Natural History

Introduction

Walking into the Museum of Natural History, I recalled when one of my friends had shared her experience being there with her family her first week here at the University of Florida. Although my experience was not going to be with my family, I was excited to see the things she had described to me in extensive detail. After touring the Harn Museum especially, I was even more looking forward to the presentations and displays. Nature is also a part of our environment that interests me very much. Nature has evolved so much throughout time, already having had such a great amount of diversity to being with. Nature is so fascinating, mostly due to its diverse list of animals, plants, and so many other visually and audibly stimulating aspects of it.

Nature on Display

The first exhibit I was able to visit in this museum was the frog exhibit. In this exhibit, there were over a dozen tall tanks, each of which contained inside a different species of frog. Although it seems like a very simple concept, I was fascinated by the way they accommodated the small glass boxes to the frogs. For instance, in some tanks I observed that they had added a small waterfall, a variety of plants that resembled their own natural environments in the wild. The frogs, for their size, had a considerable amount of room as well. They were idle for the majority of the time, most likely waiting to be fed by the workers in the museum. The frogs differed greatly in their appearance, such as their colorful patterns as well as their surprisingly varying textures. There were small descriptions of the frogs, providing information about their natural habitats, where they can be found, what they eat, and other things of that nature. The exhibit caught my attention because it was in a room with black walls and a darker appearance all around. The only color in the room was coming from the different tanks containing the frogs. I recognized that certain animals, such as these frogs which most often live in tropical areas with certain temperatures and conditions, require these same conditions in order to survive even in exhibits.

Nature and Ethics

The Natural History Museum made me realize how interesting and valuable each aspect of the various natural habitats were, especially to the organisms residing in these conditions. Having evolved through millions of years, certain animals are very delicate to some of the factors of their environment and have adapted specifically to that type of environment in order to survive. I then started to think about the terrible destruction of so many natural habitats by humans for our own personal gain. I find it heartbreaking that we are so ready to destroy the home to so many animals in order to increase our own profit. We profit off of the destruction of nearly all of our natural resources and the condition it has put the environment in is worrying. As I went through the museum, I felt more and more connected to nature and the fascinating visual aspects it provides. My friend was also very excited to interact so closely with different aspects of nature and be exposed to so much of the history, which is often very difficult to do in our day and age. She was especially excited for the butterfly exhibit. My time in the museum made me want to join an environmental club. Although I already had an interest in the issues our planet is facing, this increased my desire and feelings of responsibility to be more active in my fighting for the environment.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The Natural History Museum brings us outside of our own comfort zone, exposing us to things we may not see everyday. It puts us in an environment that we have pulled ourselves away from for comfort and a greater feeling of safety. We often feel a rush of excitement being exposed to this very world that we used to survive off of and thrive in. Increased exposure to nature helps us get a better understanding of what our ancestors had to live through. It also helps us have a clearer picture of what the animals we may see everyday or may not ever interact with have to live through, the struggles they face daily in order to survive. The natural world contains so any things that are now strange to us and very diverse. They can teach us what we have evolved from. Having such close interactions with this environment also allows us to reach a higher level of sympathy for these very things that we tend to destroy due to our lack of knowledge and understanding towards it.

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