NATURE ON DISPLAY: Natural history museums are designed to immerse you in nature, to pique your curiosity about the natural world, and to display information about animals, plants, insects, and the history of the Earth in ways that are enjoyable so you will remember what you learned during your visit. One exhibit that was particularly appealing was the Butterflies of the World exhibit in which the wide variety of butterflies that inhabit different parts of the world were displayed on the walls. I learned that there’s a certain family of butterfly/moth, called the Lepidoptera, which is the second largest group of animals in the world. This really caught my attention because it was such a surprising and intriguing piece of information. I realized the natural world is so much larger than I originally thought. Seeing all the butterflies displayed on the floor to ceiling frames added to my understanding of the exhibit and of the immensity and diversity of the natural world. It made it that much more tangible; it made it seem more real. This aspect of the exhibit, and of the entire museum really, made my experience very enjoyable.
NATURE AND ETHICS: Leopold believes that conservation efforts are doomed to fail unless we learn to appreciate the land for more than just its economic value. He calls on us to “love, respect, and admire” the land, and he asks us to start viewing ourselves as members of the “biotic community” rather than as “conquerors of the land.” The Natural History Museum provided me with the opportunity to experience nature in the ways that Leopold recommends because I was able to walk around the Butterfly Garden in which the butterflies and other wildlife were able to roam freely. It felt like I was a part of their “community” instead of “conquerors of the land”. I was able to observe them in their natural habitat and appreciate them in a different light. I felt very connected to them and to nature in general. I realized that our world is surrounded and inhabited by so much beauty, beauty that we must appreciate and protect to our fullest capabilities. The butterfly garden was my favorite exhibit.
NATURE AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT: Heschel believes that we need to take time in our daily lives to connect to the eternal so we can recognize the mystery and majesty of the Universe. I came across an exhibit that displayed many fossils, some of animals which are now extinct. We, humans, are not the only ones that inhabit and have inhabited the world we live in. We need to realize nature, and our world, is so much bigger than us, so much bigger than most of realize. We should take it all in and appreciate its mighty beauty; I think most people take it for granted. This museum exhibit helped me step out of my ordinary life because it made me realize that our world has been going on way longer than I’ve been alive and it will continue to move forward once I’m no longer here. Our world truly is so mysterious and mystical, we must appreciate it and protect it.